I keep hearing about the magical healing powers of turmeric. From a potent anti-inflammatory to a cure for the common cold and even protection against cancer and Alzheimer’s, it seems to be the ultimate super food. Unable to shake a cold this week, I thought I’d try an old favorite Tagine recipe and ramp up the turmeric in the hope that an extra teaspoon would provide a quick fix cure.
As a child, we visited Morocco many times to get away from the English winter. One particular trip to Marrakech stands out not only because my father jokingly offered to sell me for a few camels (my sense of humor wasn’t fully formed) but mainly for a visit to La Mamounia Hotel just to sample their famous Pigeon Pie (B’stilla). Breaking through the crispy filo pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar to reach the juicy meat below was unlike anything I had ever tasted. I’ve been in love with Moroccan food and its blending of sweet and savory ever since. This Tagine recipe has all those qualities from the sweet softened apricots to the crunch of the almonds and the juicy chicken. The dish even gets better the next day when all those wonderful flavors have melded!
Chicken Tagine with Almonds and Apricots
4 chicken legs
4 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon saffron strands
2 cups (approximately) chicken stock
9 ounces dried apricots
3 ounces marcona almonds
1 tablespoon honey
2 large handfuls of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1. Season the chicken generously. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or casserole and lightly brown the chicken on both sides. You may need to do in batches.
2. Add the onions and garlic and cook on medium for a further 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those good bits.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and paprika and stir well.
4. Pour over just enough chicken stock to cover the meat and bring to a boil. Add the saffron strands and stir well. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
5. Add the apricots and almonds, stir well, cover and cook for another 15 minutes.
6. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the honey to the casserole and cook, uncovered at medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
7. Add back the chicken, stir well and check for seasoning. Turn off the heat, stir in half the parsley and serve over couscous. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley.