The kids and I just finished a unit study on Africa.
This year we've "visited" Europe, North America, and South America. Now that we've left Africa, we'll make a stop in Asia and then finish with Australia/Oceana.
We try to cook a little something from each place we learn about. I'm not so great on the crafting and artsy stuff, but dang! we can cook what we learn.
I knew they would not go for Peanut Soup.
And it's hard to procure Zebra or Giraffe meat out of season.
So Moroccan Chicken Tagine it was. And it was good. All sorts of flavors we love around here - cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, turmeric. Sweet apricots and honey. Spicy cinnamon. Fresh cilantro. Good for the Sassy family.
Lots of recipes I found called for almonds - we skipped. None of them asked for a dry rub on the chicken - I did it anyway. I doubled the amount of dried apricots.
That's 12 chicken thighs and a whole package of couscous there. We are hungry folks. I'll give you the amounts for 8 pieces of chicken.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed (or other oil with a high smoking point)
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 1" piece of fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 tsp EACH (again) of the spices above
handful of fresh cilantro stems, minced (reserve leaves for garnish)
handful of fresh parsley stems, minced (reserve leaves for couscous)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dried apricots
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons honey
1 - 15 ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
large handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 box couscous, cooked according to package directions, with fresh chopped parsley added
Sprinkle the chicken with the spices - rub it all over and turn to coat. Let it sit while you chop and prep other ingredients.
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. In batches of 3 or 4 at a time, brown the chicken, skin side down first, for about 6-8 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add the onion and carrot to the oil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ginger and the parsley and cilantro stems, plus the other half teaspoon of each of the spices, salt and pepper. Stir. Add the apricots and chicken broth, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the sides of the pot. Bring to a slow boil.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pot, crowding them in and nestling them into the sauce - skin side up. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Prepare the couscous.
Remove the chicken to a platter. Add the honey and the chick peas to the pot, stirring and simmering, taste for salt and pepper.
Arrange the chicken and sauce on a large platter. Surround with couscous or have it all to one side if your people like their couscous "unsauced." Sprinkle the entire platter with fresh chopped cilantro.