Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Chicken and apricot tagine, slow cooker and pressure cooker versions


I love using unique spices in my cooking, so naturally tagines are one of my favorite dishes. A tagine is a Moroccan dish that is best described as a very flavorful stew. The word “tagine” is also the name of the clay pot that was traditionally used to cook the dish.

Moroccan tagines have layers and layers of flavors. The dish pairs savory elements with sweet dried fruits. In this particular recipe that I’m sharing today, a heaping portion of dried apricots is balanced with savory chicken thighs and tangy preserved lemon.

Preserved lemons are an integral part in Moroccan cooking. The flavor is what will give your dish that “wow” factor. I purchase my preserved lemons on Amazon, but I’ve also seen them at Cost Plus World Market. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 1/4 cup lemon juice, but just know that the flavor doesn’t even begin to compare to that of a preserved lemon.

I have a few tips to share when making this dish. The first is that you can buy bags of chopped up butternut squash in the freezer section. I didn’t realize that until recently. I find butternut squash to be a pain to prepare, so this is a HUGE time-saver. Also, I loathe chipping onions, so I use this trick with onions as well.

Second, I realize if you don’t already own these spices, it can be expensive to purchase everything. I recommend buying the spices in bulk at either Whole Foods or a local spice shop. It’s incredible how much money you can save that way.

I prepared this tagine two different ways: using an Instant Pot and a slow cooker.

The recipes are nearly identical, but there is one big difference. If you are preparing this in a pressure cooker, you should add one 28-ounce can of died tomatoes with the juices. The reason is because pressure cookers require more liquid to cook than slow cookers. The slow cooker will produce a lot of moisture on its own without the added liquid.

And one last thing, please don’t skimp out on using fresh herbs. I used cilantro, but if you prefer, use parsley. It’s another big contributor to the “wow” factor.

I served this dish with pearl couscous and Greek yogurt. Pita is tagines’ friend as well because who doesn’t love bread in every way, shape, and form?

Chicken and apricot tagine, slow cooker version
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger 
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • Cooked couscous, pita for serving
  • Plain yogurt, toasted almonds for topping 
Directions
  1. Warm a skillet on stovetop to medium heat. Place chicken thighs in skillet and cook without moving the chicken until side is browned, or about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet, place on plate, and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and saute until soft, or about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add minced ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
  4. Add spices to skillet and cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  5. Add preserved lemon and lemon juice, stirring well and using the lemon juice to deglaze the pan and scrape off any brown bits that formed on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  6. Dump the butternut squash and dried apricots into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add half of the onion and spice mixture on top. 
  7. Layer the browned chicken thighs on top and the other half of the onion and spice mixture over the chicken.
  8. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the squash is soft and the chicken shreds easily.
  9. Once dish is cooked, stir in cilantro and green onions.
  10. Serve with cooked couscous, pita, and or yogurt. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Chicken and apricot tagine, pressure cooker version
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger 
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, juices included
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • Cooked couscous, pita for serving
  • Plain yogurt, toasted almonds for topping 
Directions
  1. Warm Instant Pot to saute setting. Place chicken thighs in skillet and cook without moving the chicken until side is browned, or about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken from Instant Pot, place on plate, and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the Instant Pot and saute until soft, or about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add minced ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. 
  4. Add spices to skillet and cook until fragrant, or about 30 seconds.
  5. Add preserved lemon and lemon juice, stirring well and using the lemon juice to deglaze the Instant Pot and scrape off any brown bits that formed on the bottom. Turn off saute setting.
  6. Return chicken to Instant Pot and stir with onion and spice mixture.
  7. Dump in the can of diced tomatoes and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Add butternut squash and dried apricots to the Instant Pot.
  9. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  10. Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid and stir in cilantro and green onions.
  11. Serve with cooked couscous, pita, and or yogurt. Sprinkle almonds on top.
Recipes adapted from this recipe by the New York Times


1 comment:

  1. With these two burner stoves you can provide large and tasty meals for the whole family or simply use them to boil kettles to make a well earned cuppa first thing in the morning. coghlans camp cooker

    ReplyDelete

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