Thursday, April 29, 2010
There's a saying that a little preparation goes a long way. That's true in the case of this dinner - and many of the dinners I make. When I get home from work, I want a good dinner, but I really don't want to think about it. So, each week, I figure out in advance what we're going to have each night. I then make my grocery list and I'm set. I know exactly what I need to do each day and I don't have to puzzle over dinner after a long day at the office.
Many of the meals I make may seem time intensive, but broken down, they're actually quite easy. This tagine requires marinating the chicken for several hours. I make the marinade in the morning, pop it in the fridge, and it's all set when I get home. Into the tagine it goes and the meal is ready in about an hour (most of which is hands-off simmering time). The chicken is so tender it taste like it cooked all day and the lemon, olives and thyme give it tons of flavor.
Chicken tagine with lemon, olives and thyme
adapted from Tagine by Ghillie Basan
8-10 chicken thighs
1 Tbsp. olive oil plus a pat of butter
1/2 large lemon cut into very thin wedges
6 oz. large green pitted olives
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
For the marinade:
1 onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
a small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
a pinch of saffron threads
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brown on both sides, working in batches if necessary. Pour the marinade over the chicken and add enough water to come halfway up the chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.
Skim off any fat that's risen to the top. Add the lemon, thyme and olives. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
I like to serve this with hand-rolled couscous and carrots sauteed with mustard seed and fenugreek and sprinkled with cilantro.