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.
- 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 pulp. Thinly slice the rind.
- One medium sweet onion such as Vidalia halved and thinly sliced
- Fresh cilantro (a handful chiffonade) separated in halves
- Dried red currents (about a 1/3 of a cup)
- Cooked quartered artichoke (I buy them in a jar with olive oil and spices)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- Fresh baby spinach
- Tagine spice blend (2 tsp each or to taste)
I love smoked, spicy paprika so I go heavier on it
- Smoked paprika
- Aleppo chili flakes
- Ground ginger
- Tagine tomato base (premake this)
- 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)
- Dried oregano
- 1 TBS Arrowroot powder mixed with water to a slurry (for thickening if needed)
- 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 cup. If you have more, reserve it.
- Make the tagine spice blend. Combine all ingredients in small bowl or ramekin. Set beside your stove.
- Remove your chicken from package. Pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with the tagine spice blend, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and oregano on one side.
- 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 down. While it sears season the top side. Get a good sear on one side (about 2 minutes), flip it. 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 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato base, currents, half the chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup chicken broth or a bit more. 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