Monday, March 21, 2011

Chicken tagine with harissa, artichokes and grapes

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New combinations of foods I love are always welcome in my kitchen. I'm definitely skeptical about some (for example grilled cucumber). But for the most part, I tend to like the way things turn out. This recipe is one of those. If you've visited Ladyberd's Kitchen before, no doubt you know how I adore tagines. This one is light and healthy - it uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts, very little fat, and plenty of fresh vegetables. The grapes, though, left me a little wary. But the first bite I popped in my mouth laid my worries to rest - they're a bright little burst of sweetness against the spice of the harissa.

This is also a great recipe for weeknights - I tossed the chicken in the marinade in the morning and the dish comes togetehr in no time at all. Love those. Serve it with some simple quick-cooking couscous or flatbread and you're good to go.

Chicken tagine with harissa, artichokes and grapes
adapted from Tagine by Ghillie Basan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. harissa (or more to taste)
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or water
1 can artichokes hearts in water, drained and quartered
16 green grapes, halved
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil

First, make the marinade. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, turmeric, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss the chicken in the mixture, then cover and leave in refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours.


Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish. Stir in the onions, preserved lemon, and the sugar and saute for 2-3 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Toss in the marinated chicken, then add the harissa and tomato paste. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover with lid and cook gently for 15 minutes.

Toss in the artichokes, cover with lid again, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the grapes with some of the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro to serve.

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