Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts: Moroccan Series, #7
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.
Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts
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
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.
84 Responses to “Sweet Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Caramelized Walnuts: Moroccan Series, #7”
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!
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! 😀
I’m so glad you did! Loved it! So fun! Happy Fiesta Friday to you as well Julianna! 😀
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! ❤
PS: I love the Moroccan tagine! 🙂
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 😀
I will take small bites on everything, Chef Julianna! 😀 After that, I will take home some of them! 😀
Phew! So glad you have a strategy, Jhuls! 😀
I don’t think I ran out of strategies when it comes to anything sweet. 😀 Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Chef Julianna. 🙂
Jhuls, you are so funny! I bet you have a long list of strategies! 😉
Try Tangy Turkey Treat!!
How did you not eat all the caramalised walnuts before the recipe was done? how?
Can you see how few are in the photographs? LOL! 😀
yeah… i woulda been lucky to have ended up with that many!
That title alone makes my mouth water! Mmmmm yummy!
So glad! 😀
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:
I hope you enjoy the party xxJustine x
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! 😀
Lol spiked? Haha that sounds a bit risqué?? Haha really? Looks shocked :-p
wow! I did not know this recipe! must be good!
Thanks, Simi! So glad I can provide you with this recipe – it’s a keeper! 😀
Your Tagine is amazing, I can imagine all the fragrances, Julianna 🙂
Thanks Linda! Yes, it is lovely and fragrant! I think my neighbours were drooling too! 😀
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!!
Oh, thanks so much, Serena! I really appreciate your lovely enthusiasm! 😀
[…] Julianna […]
This looks great Julianna! Thanks for bringing it to the party 🙂
My pleasure, Jess! I hope you enjoy FF – so much to eat, so little time! 😀
Love Moroccan food and food prepared in the tagine, this is such a wonderful combination of flavors. Delicious.
I’m with you! 🙂
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 😀
I hope you do try it, Michelle! It is deceptively simple and sooo worth it! 😀
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!!!
Ah yes! I’m with you on the lamb! I only eat it once in a while,but really prefer chicken too!
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!
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!
Sounds really really amazing! Makes me want to travel!
Me too! 😀
Love your tagine and your recipe to go with it. I’ll have to indulge someday and buy one for my kitchen.
I’m actually finding that I can cook all sorts of things in it, so it is really useful and very attractive! 😀
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!
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! 😀
I’m loving your Moroccan series, it warms my heart xx
I’m so glad! 😀
This dish sounds so scrumptuous Julianna! I need to get myself a tagine! What an awesome recipe to bring to FF 😀
Oh, thanks so much! I’m very happy to have a lovely tagine. It inspires me to try new recipes!
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 🙂
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? 🙂
Hey, I do not own a tagine – maybe your recipe is a good excuse to buy one 🙂
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!
Apricots, walnuts and visions of handsome men (Arabian Nights), I’m in heaven! Happy Fiesta Friday!
Here’s to the handsome men in the Arabian Nights!! 😀
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?
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!
Looks good! I have my plate in hand and I am ready to try it! 🙂
Sure hope you like it! 😀
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!!
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!! 😀
Such beautiful flavours in your tagine Julianna! I can just imagine what a feast it must have been – I adore these sorts of meals!
Me too! I wish I could eat like this everyday, but I do like having these dishes for special occasions too! 😀
I can almost smell this dish! I admire your persistence in remaking a dish to get photographs so you can post about it. 🙂
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!
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!
Well, just pass your plate over, Lily and I’ll be happy to dish you up a big plate! 😀
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!
Hey Selma! Before I got this tagine, I did exactly that! A Le Creuset is perfect! 🙂
Julianna, this looks so amazing! You are such a talented cook! Have a great night. 🙂 ♥
Oh, your words are very kind, Kloe! I don’t know that I am very talented, but I do love to cook! 😀
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!
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! 😀
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!
Hi Angenette! I hope that you get to try this recipe and let me know if the flavours get close to Morocco! 😀
I’m always looking for new ways to prepare chicken and this looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it! 🙂
Thanks so much! I hope you do get to try it! 😀
[…] 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. […]
This looks so good. I’m going to try it. 🙂
I sure hope you do! Please let me know what you think! 😀
Awesome, please let me know what you think of it! 😀
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.
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. 🙂
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!
Thanks for the comment, Liz! So happy to share this with my WP friends! 😀
[…] simple food is not your style, go all out with the spices and flavor bombs with this classic Moroccan […]