I tasted my first tagine in my 20s. A newly minted New Yorker, I went out to dinner in Greenwich Village to a now-shuttered restaurant known as Cookies and Couscous. Whereas sitting by the window and sipping mint tea, my pal and I studied the menu, admired the tiny 20-seat house, and ordered tagines – lamb and rooster – and a bottle of Moroccan purple wine.
We smelled our tagines earlier than we noticed them, the heady aroma saying their arrival. The stews, perfumed with saffron, ginger and coriander, amongst different spices, have been as scrumptious as they have been fragrant. Alongside couscous, it was an unforgettable meal, one I’ve considered ever since.
And but, for no different motive than intimidation, till not too long ago I had by no means tried to make a tagine at dwelling. I’m now right here to let you know: don’t be like me; make a tagine at dwelling.
Most related to Morocco, tagine is the title of a dish in addition to the vessel through which it’s cooked. The latter has a round base with low sides and a hatlike dome lid through which components are slow-cooked or braised. The lid’s conical form permits moisture to condense and return to the pot, maintaining the dish moist.
Historically, tagines have been made out of clay to prepare dinner gently over a dying hearth. Generally, a kanoun (brazier) is used to softly diffuse the warmth (I used it within the recipe beneath and suggest it heartily). Today, up to date tagines by manufacturers corresponding to Le Creuset are made with a cast-iron base and designed to be used in dwelling ovens.
Tagines might be made with greens, poultry, meat or seafood, and they’re usually served alongside couscous. The recipe beneath, tailored from San Francisco-based Moroccan chef Mourad Lahlou’s cookbook, Mourad, makes use of rooster, in addition to olives and preserved lemon. (A fast apart: some recipes will let you know that plain lemons are a effective substitute for preserved. Don’t imagine them. In a pinch, a lemon will add brightness and acid, however the salty, briny notes imparted by preserved lemons can’t be replicated. Search them out at well-stocked supermarkets or Center Japanese markets.)
The model beneath is exquisitely fragranced. The phrase m’qualli, in line with cookbook creator Claudia Roden in her e book Arabesque, denotes tagines “cooked in oil the place there’s saffron and ginger and the sauce is yellow”.
You’ll discover that Lahlou’s model finishes the dish with butter. That is the place the chef flexes his culinary coaching by using a number of French methods, however the recipe stays easy and achieves deeper flavour with just some minutes of additional effort.
He first instructs you to sear the rooster on either side in just a little olive oil (or rendered rooster fats, when you have it). This step produces some splatters, so put on an apron, and when you have a splatter guard, use it (the outcomes are so improbable, nonetheless, that I, an inveterate splatter hater, don’t thoughts the mess). As soon as the rooster is generously browned, set it apart, pour off many of the fats, and prepare dinner what seems to be an ungodly quantity of onions till they’re the color of an Irish setter and are tender, yielding and on the point of caramelisation.
Now the aromatics are available in: into this heap of schmaltzy onions you stir a mixture of coriander, white pepper, ginger, saffron and turmeric. The aroma alone will render you weak-kneed, however you’re not carried out simply but. Return the rooster to the tagine, nestling it into the onions, add the broth and produce all of it to a simmer. Then the domelike lid goes on high and the vessel strikes to the oven to braise.
When the rooster is cooked, you end the dish on the stovetop by enriching the sauce with the olives and preserved lemon, whereas Lahlou’s nontraditional addition of butter rounds out the sauce, giving it dimension and complexity.
What in case your kitchen, like many, lacks a tagine? Don’t fret. Any heavy-bottomed pot of comparable quantity – a casserole dish, as an example – will ably do the job. Actually, for those who’re planning to make this braise for a crowd, it’s essential search for one thing that may match extra meals, as the previous is supposed for smaller yields. I think that on the evening of my first tagine tasting, a bigger batch was cooked in an enormous pot to serve a number of clients, which might technically have made the dish qdra (named for the large pots used for bigger events), after which parceled out right into a tagine for a lovely presentation.
No matter your vessel, the wealthy mix of spices, olives and preserved lemons will end in a scrumptious braise that simply may turn out to be a beloved recipe in your house, too.
Djaj m’qualli (rooster, olive and lemon tagine)
Lively time: 50 minutes
Complete time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Serves: 6 to eight
This Moroccan rooster stew, a tagine with olives and preserved lemon, is as comforting as it’s aromatic. Tagine, named for the clay vessel through which it’s historically cooked, is a dish that dates to the late eighth century. A tagine pot has a spherical backside and a hat-like lid, which permits the air to flow into just like a convection oven.
Historically served with couscous, this model additionally could possibly be served with long-grain white rice, for those who choose.
Storage: Refrigerate for as much as 4 days.
The place to purchase: Preserved lemons might be discovered at well-stocked supermarkets or Center Japanese shops.
8 bone-in skin-on rooster thighs (about 1.4kg complete), patted dry
Freshly floor black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra as wanted
680g yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp floor coriander
2 tsp floor white pepper
2 tsp floor ginger
1 tsp saffron threads
½ tsp floor turmeric
300ml unsalted rooster broth
Rind of 1 preserved lemon, chopped
About 10 inexperienced olives, pitted and cracked
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp chopped or entire leaves of contemporary flat-leaf parsley (non-compulsory)
1 tbsp chopped or entire leaves of contemporary coriander (non-compulsory)
Cooked couscous, for serving (non-compulsory)
1. Generously season the rooster on all sides with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or refrigerate in a single day.
2. When able to prepare dinner, in a tagine or casserole dish over medium-high warmth, warmth 1 tablespoon of oil till shimmering. Working in batches, if needed, add half of the rooster, pores and skin facet down, and prepare dinner, turning as soon as, till nicely browned, 3 to five minutes per facet. Switch to a platter and repeat with the remaining rooster, if wanted. This may be messy; when you have a splatter guard, use it.
3. Place a rack on the underside of the oven (take away the opposite racks so the tagine or casserole dish can match) and preheat to 180C.
4. Cut back the warmth to medium and pour off all however about 2 tablespoons of the fats within the pan (if the fats burned, discard it and add 2 tablespoons of oil). Add the onions and prepare dinner, stirring usually and adjusting the warmth as needed so the onions do not burn, till wealthy golden brown, 12 to fifteen minutes.
5. Season the onions with the coriander, white pepper, ginger, saffron and turmeric, add a pinch of salt, and prepare dinner, stirring, till the spices are barely toasted, about 90 seconds. Return the rooster to the tagine or casserole dish, pour within the rooster broth and produce to a energetic simmer.
6. Cowl the tagine or casserole dish, switch to the oven and braise for 40 minutes, or till the rooster is tender and begins to fall off the bone. Utilizing a slotted spoon or tongs, switch the rooster to a platter, cowl to maintain heat, and return the tagine or casserole dish to the stovetop. Flip the warmth to low and simmer the sauce till it is barely diminished and coats the again of a spoon, about 6 minutes. Add the preserved lemons and olives and prepare dinner till warmed by way of. Whisk within the butter and herbs till the butter melts. Style, and season with extra salt, if desired. Take away from the warmth, cowl and let sit for five minutes.
7. Spoon the sauce, lemons and olives over the rooster, garnish with extra parsley and/or coriander, if utilizing, and serve with the couscous.
Diet data per serving (1 rooster thigh), based mostly on 8 | Energy: 344; complete fats: 26g; saturated fats: 8g; ldl cholesterol: 121mg; sodium: 245mg; carbohydrates: 2g; dietary fibre: 1g; sugar: 1g; protein: 24g.
This evaluation is an estimate based mostly on out there components and this preparation. It shouldn’t substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s recommendation.
© The Washington Submit