Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts: Moroccan Series, #7

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnute

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts

Well this is the 7th post in my Moroccan Series and I am finally presenting you with the iconic Moroccan dish, a tagine. It’s not that I haven’t tried to post one before, but either the pictures weren’t up to my standard, or I never had the time to photograph the finished product.  A chicken tagine with prunes, photographed poorly; my first attempt at today’s dish was gobbled up too fast for photographing; and few vegetable tagines just never got photographed because I was too busy. So here we are with this lovely dish and I am very happy to post it at last! For any of you unfamiliar with the word “tagine”, it refers to the elegant dish that the food is cooked in ( see picture below), and it refers to the actual recipe that is cooked in the tagine – usually some combination of meat and dried fruit or a combination of vegetables.

Today’s recipe is like an exotic trip – a dish that would be served in a story from the Arabian Nights. I absolutely love the way Moroccans combine warn with sweet. You will find that most tagines are a combination of meat with some sort of dried fruit; be it apricots, prunes or raisins. The addition of the caramelized walnuts here, add another layer of sweet and crunchy to this already complex recipe. At a traditional Moroccan meal, this tagine would be at the centre. It would be accompanied by a giant bowl of couscous, breads, vegetables and a wide variety of other savoury dishes. When I served this to my family a few weeks ago, I made a wonderful vegetable tagine and a huge bowl of couscous as accompaniments. What a feast it was!

I am bringing this tagine over to Fiesta Friday tonight!  I know that the gang there appreciates dishes from around the world, so hopefully they will like this one too!  If you haven’t checked out Angie’s amazing Friday night blog party, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Come and join us!

This recipe comes from the April/May, 2014 issue of the Fine Cooking magazine.

A couple of notes: if you don’t own a tagine, just use a deeper skillet with a lid.

Also, you can make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which I really like. The cooking time will be reduced too. Just keep you eyes on the doneness of the meat.

DSC_3808

Remember, don't start nibbling on these! You need them for the recipe!

Remember, don’t start nibbling on these! You need them for the recipe!

Love my new Moroccan tagine!

Love my new Moroccan tagine!

Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts

Ingredients:

1 generous pinch saffron threads (about 20)

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 bone-in chicken drumsticks and 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed

3 medium yellow or red onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (5 cups)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

¾ cup dried apricots

¼ cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

Orange flower water (optional)

2/3 cup walnut halves

Method:

Toast the saffron threads in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often, until they turn a darker shade, about 1 – 2 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and using the back of a spoon, crush them until they are fragrant. Add the garlic, parsley, 1 tablespoon cilantro, ginger, ¼ teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Stir to combine. Add the oil and 2 tablespoons water. Stir again.

Add the chicken pieces, being sure to coat each one with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, turning once or twice. (Better if left overnight.)

Scatter the onions over the bottom of an 11 – 12 inch tagine. Arrange the chicken pieces in a snug single layer on top and drizzle with any remaining marinade. Dot with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cook over medium heat, turning the chicken occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.

Cover the tagine with the lid, propping open with a wooden spoon, between the pan and the lid to keep it from sealing. Turn the heat to low and gently simmer until the chicken is tender, but not falling off the bone, about 45 minutes. If it looks like the sauce is drying out, add a few tablespoons of water. If it is too watery, remove the lid at the end of the cooking and allow sauce to reduce.

Meanwhile, put the apricots, 2 tablespoons honey, the cinnamon stick, a few drops orange flower water and ¾ cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then reduce temperature to low and simmer gently until the apricots are tender and the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons of syrup, about 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons honey and the walnuts and cook constantly and slowly until they have a light chewy coating, about 4 – 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper. Spread in a single layer and let cool. When cooled, separate any walnuts that are stuck together. Don’t start nibbling on these; you won’t be able to stop and there won’t be any left for the dish!!

When the chicken is done, arrange the apricots around the chicken, drizzle with the apricot syrup. Reheat the chicken slowly over low heat for about 5 – 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter the walnuts and the remaining 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro over the top of the dish.

Serve with couscous and a vegetable dish of your choice. I have a wonderful recipe for Moroccan style vegetables that I will post soon.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts

Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts

 

Orange Blossom Water

Orange Blossom Water

 

84 Responses to “Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts: Moroccan Series, #7”

  1. Lori

    I love your tangine Julianna! I have never heard of or seen one before! So fun! And your recipe? The ingredients sound mouthwatering together! So glad you brought this!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Oh, I’m so glad, Lori! I never know what people have heard of or not, so I just took that picture in case! Happy Fiesta Friday! 😀

      Reply
      • Lori

        I’m so glad you did! Loved it! So fun! Happy Fiesta Friday to you as well Julianna! 😀

  2. Jhuls

    Hmm, another sweet dish for the party! I love sweet dishes so much, Chef Julianna! And this is my kind of thing! 😉 Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful FF18! ❤

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Jhuls, I was hoping you would like it! Go easy now, huh? You know there will be a lot of sweet food at the party and you don’t want to OD – you want to try everything 😀

      Reply
      • Jhuls

        I will take small bites on everything, Chef Julianna! 😀 After that, I will take home some of them! 😀

      • Jhuls

        I don’t think I ran out of strategies when it comes to anything sweet. 😀 Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Chef Julianna. 🙂

  3. eclecticoddsnsods

    Hello there, oh boy, I am Co Hosting and you just blew my socks off with this Moroccon dish, one of my favorites, I have already stolen it for my scrapbook! I really love this dish, seriously, it is something I have when I go out, something similar as a real treat but where is the belly dancing?

    So I think I should give you an apparently traditional Moroccon drink to start the party off, Berber Whisky from here:

    http://www.budgettravel.com/blog/moroccos-national-drink-berber-whiskey,9141/

    I hope you enjoy the party xxJustine x

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Justine, thanks so much for co-hosting tonight! We know you are really busy, so we appreciate it! Glad you like the dish! Belly dancing…hmmm, maybe I’ll have to rent one or two dancers for the next party! Unless, of course you can belly dance? That would be something,huh? The belly dancing co-hostess jingling through the crowds serving up her Berber Whiskey – but I would like mine spiked, please! 😀

      Reply
  4. Serena

    This is an amazing recipe! I love everything about it! I can definitely imagine the flavours of the apricots, the spices, the walnuts, perfectly combined in this lovely dish! Nice!!

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    Oh wow, this looks so good I could eat it all up (and I just might if nobody holds me back!). I don’t think I’ve ever made Moroccan food, I may have to give this one a go though 😀

    Reply
  6. lapetitecasserole

    Another sweet memory of my trip to Marocco… Tajine with apricots is sounds as dream… I’ m not a huge fan of lamb, so thanks a lot of using chicken!!!

    Reply
  7. Stephanie @ The Cozy Cook

    WOW, major props to you on this amazing dish. My posts are (literally) like, here is how you mash a potato. HA… needless to say my goal is to get a little more culture in me! I also give you credit for presenting this once you were happy with the picture and everything, isn’t it hard when you don’t have time to take a picture or aren’t happy with how it came out? Anyway, I loved this post, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Oh, I’m so glad you liked the post! Yes, I keep joking with my husband that I need to quit my job so I can stay home and cook and take pictures of the food :/ LOL!

      Reply
  8. Loretta

    Love your tagine and your recipe to go with it. I’ll have to indulge someday and buy one for my kitchen.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      I’m actually finding that I can cook all sorts of things in it, so it is really useful and very attractive! 😀

      Reply
  9. Nancy

    This looks absolutely delicious, Julianna! I wish it were simmering on my stove right now. There’s not one thing I don’t like in the ingredient list…fabulous recipe!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Nancy! How are you feeling? Hope you are feeling better!! And so glad that you popped in for FF! I wish I could bring my tagine over so you could actually taste it, never mind getting that great fragrance in your kitchen! 😀

      Reply
  10. Sheri Fox

    I saw this and had an AHA moment! Of course there would be a strong Moroccan influence on Spanish food! I’m not very familiar with Moroccan cooking but this reminded me of a Catalan dish I learned in Barcelona, Chicken with Prunes and Pinenuts, cooked in a clay cassola. When I got home I didn’t have prunes or pinenuts so I subbed dried apricots and cashews. Here I thought I was being so smart. This is a gorgeous dish – thank you for sharing and giving my brain a geography/history lesson 🙂

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      You know, I just love studying the influence of various invasions on the cuisines of different countries! One of my favourite stories is the one where the Greeks were being invaded by someone (?) and they put Pine sap into the wine so it wouldn’t be stolen and it became the famous Retsina of Greece. I hate the stuff, but it is a great story! Don’t you think? 🙂

      Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey JuJu! Not only is it pretty, but it is useful. I have been using mine for all sorts of things. I am going to do some braising in it next!

      Reply
  11. Hilda

    I love tagine, and this one with the sweet nuts looks like a keeper. I am envious that you got such a beautiful tagine dish – I keep looking at them in the shops and have never quite found one I like enough. Any hints on where to find one like yours?

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Hilda! Well, I found mine in a kitchen specialty shop. Not sure what part of Canada you live in, but you may just try online at the Gourmet Warehouse in Vancouver. I have seen them there. I bought this one at Posh Pantry in Burnaby. The owner there is awesome and she would probably order you the colour and size you want and ship it to you. You can find her online. I love her store! Good luck!

      Reply
  12. The Novice Gardener

    Julianna, I’ve always wanted to cook a tagine in a tagine! I think I should get one, don’t you think? Saving this excellent recipe for when I finally get my tagine. Sounds just so, so mouth-watering! Big YUM!!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Absolutely, Angie! There are just so many recipes you can cook in a tagine! I am just loving mine and am planning so many more recipes! Hope you get to try this recipe! Happy Fiesta Friday to you!! 😀

      Reply
  13. Gather and Graze

    Such beautiful flavours in your tagine Julianna! I can just imagine what a feast it must have been – I adore these sorts of meals!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Me too! I wish I could eat like this everyday, but I do like having these dishes for special occasions too! 😀

      Reply
  14. Noony

    I can almost smell this dish! I admire your persistence in remaking a dish to get photographs so you can post about it. 🙂

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Noony! Yes, I’m like a dog with a bone when I put my mind to it! Sometimes that is good, and sometimes not! :/

      Reply
  15. Lily

    I love Moroccan food, the spices and complexity of your dish looks divine and must taste fabulous, oh I wish I could bite into a piece of juicy chicken- yum!

    Reply
  16. Selma's Table

    Julianna – this is such a wonderful recipe, full of complex and layers of flavours. I might attempt this in my Le Creuset in the absence of a tagine and the space to have one… Those walnuts really are the crowning glory! Happy Fiesta Friday!

    Reply
  17. saucygander

    Juliana, I have serious tagine envy! And I can understand about eating something before it has been photographed…it happens in our house all too often. Your tagine looks wonderful, apricot and chicken is a classic pairing, but the walnuts, saffron and orange blossom water would make it out of this world!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Saucy! Tagine envy, huh? LOL! Well, glad you think it looks good! And glad to know I’m in good company with not being able to photograph the quickly disappearing recipes! 😀

      Reply
  18. angenette

    This looks so fantastic and authentic — I had tagine in Morocco and have yet to try to capture those flavors in my own kitchen, but I just may use your recipe and give it a go!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hi Angenette! I hope that you get to try this recipe and let me know if the flavours get close to Morocco! 😀

      Reply
  19. Sinfully Tempting

    I’m always looking for new ways to prepare chicken and this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    Reply
  20. Fiesta Friday #19 | The Novice Gardener

    […] Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts from Julianna@Foodie On Board. Justine says Moroccan food is an absolute favorite of hers (Mine, too). This combo makes her just dribble (Me, too). She says it would make her fart terribly afterwards (Her words! And only her! I don’t fart!) but she doesn’t care as slow-cooked chicken with apricots is yummy! But she wants to know – where is the belly dancing? I do, too. […]

    Reply
  21. Cteavin

    I love these kinds of recipes. If you read pre 19th century recipes fruits, nuts, and meat are often cooked together. Recipes like this fill in the empty spaces in European cooking. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Well thanks! This is very interesting information! I will have to go to the library and do a bit of research about this! I think that studying the history of various cuisines would be a fascinating pursuit! It sounds like you have been doing some already. 🙂

      Reply
  22. Liz

    The chicken looks and sounds very delicious. I love the different ingredients added. Apricots, honey, cinnamon, walnuts are all my most favourite ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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