This is a recipe I extrapolated after having the dish in a restaurant. I used my best guesses and a bit of research to try to be as faithful as possible to the one I had.

The name of this dish “Tagine” comes from the Arabic word for “frying pan.” The actual item is a shallow frying pan with a cone-shaped lid. They cook it in a clay oven. I’ve adapted the dish to be a one-pan dish. It uses nothing but a medium size frying pan. As a nod to the origin I serve the dish in clay crocks.

Ingredients

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound feeds two)
  • One quarter preserved lemon with rind (you can make preserved lemons but I buy them in a jar) – separate the pulp and rind. Chop the rind.
  • One medium sweet onion such as Vidalia halved and sliced
  • Fresh cilantro (a handful chiffonade)
  • Dried red currents (about a 1/3 of a cup)
  • Cooked quartered artichoke (I buy them in a jar with olive oil and spices)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Fresh bay spinach
  • Tagine spice blend (2 tsp each or to taste)
    I love smoked, spicy paprika so I go heavier on it

    • Coriander
    • Smoked paprika
    • Cumin
    • Aleppo chili flakes
    • Ground ginger
  • Tagine tomato base
    • 1/4 cup Crushed tomatoes
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 2 TBS tomato paste
    • Balsamic vinegar to taste
    • Olive oil to texture and taste
    • Salt and Pepper
  • Sea salt (Maldon)
  • Pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • 1 TBS Arrowroot powder

Method

  • Make the tomato base. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let rest at room temperature. The total that goes into the dish is about a half cut. If you have more, reserve it.
  • Make the tagine spice blend. Combine all ingredients in small bowl or ramakin. Set beside your stove.
  • Remove your chicken from package. Pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano on one side. (I also sprinkle a bit of spicy, smoked paprika right here)
  • Heat a few TBS olive oil in a medium frying pan over med/high heat (7/10) until shimmering but not smoking. Put in chicken spice side up. Get a good sear on one side (about 2 minutes), flip it and season the other side. Sear the other side and then get it out of the pan and on to a plate. The idea is to get a nice brown sear on the chicken but not to cook it through. Let it rest while you make the rest of the dish.
  • If the pan is dry, put a bit more oil into it. Lower the heat to 6/10. Toss in the onions and get them rolling. Toss in the preserved lemon pulp. Hit it with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the onion starts to soften, about three minutes.
  • Add the tomato base, currents and half the chopped cilantro and 1 cup chicken broth. Scrape up browned bits (deglaze) with a non-metallic spatula. Stir to blend ingredients.
  • Reduce to a simmer.
  • Dissolve arrowroot power in a TBS of warm water and add to the pan stirring. This will thicken the broth to a sauce.
  • Add the chicken and accumulated juices back to the pan
  • Cover and let simmer on low heat for 10-12 minutes
  • Drop in artichokes and preserved lemon rinds
  • Cook an addition 2-3 minutes to warm and soften the artichokes
  • Line your bowls with a nice pile of spinach
  • Ladle the tagine into the bowls
  • Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve