Moroccan: Chicken Tagine
If you’ve been following this quiet little food blog for a while (first and foremost, thank you), you’ll know I don’t cook anything out of the ordinary. My food mantra – or cooking purpose – is to cook meals at home that are fresh and quick enough to make everyday, using ingredients that are as local as can be. Even with both of us in graduate school and one of us showing up home from class on a week night at 9:30, we still make dinner from scratch. It’s an important way for us to connect after a long day, and as we near five years together, the kitchen is still where some of our most important conversations take place, all while food is cooking on the stove. Cooking at home has never been about making anything overly fancy, or pushing my culinary skills – I started this blog as a way to commit myself to learn how to cook so I would not find myself at thirty eating spaghetti every other night, or relying on a freezer full of frozen meals. But sometimes, I find a recipe that pushes my skills a little further, or I eat something at a restaurant that inspires a new way to think about cooking, or in this case, I fall in love with a beautiful pot and find myself wanting to know more about how to use that. That being a tagine.
Tagines are clay earthenware pots used for Moroccan cooking, oftentimes ornately hand painted. I can honestly say I loved the look of a tagine before wanting to actually know what it was used for. When we registered for and received a tagine (thank you, Kathy!), I searched for a cookbook that would guide me through the rather foreign process of using it, but traditional Moroccan cookbooks were intimidating as I leafed through the pages. But two months ago, Williams-Sonoma partnered with Mourad Lahlou, the chef and owner of Aziza in San Francisco who recently published a modern Moroccan cookbook. Since much of traditional Moroccan cooking calls for special ingredients arguably difficult to find at the corner grocery (or needs an open fire, which I can’t say I have access to during the friendly winter months in Minnesota), Lahlou’s new cookbook breaks down Moroccan cooking in a way that is easy to digest and user-friendly, while still preserving the specialness of making Moroccan food. His cookbook, Mourad New Moroccan, is beautiful and opens up a different kind of cooking I have never done before, and with some new short videos, has made the process so accessible.
Making chicken tagine was a slow process on a Saturday night, paying close attention to the food and re-reading the recipe multiple times while the video looped on repeat. The results were incredible – so flavorful…each bite of chicken cooked to perfection. While not a meal I could make on a week night, this is a dish I’ll pull out for company on a weekend. You can find the recipe here.