Monday, March 28, 2011

Speedy Tagine-ish Chicken

I think unemployment, with its constant "no's" and "thanks, but no thanks" or "we'll call you's" is pretty much the pits. It's humbling, demoralizing, and I really think it's driven me to put meat back in my diet because I've up and gone meat crazy this week! First it was that sausage lasagna (still lickin' my lips) and now a Moroccan chicken dish. I also cooked some Thai with chicken that will be featured soon. Frankly, it's probably just a reaction to a year-long diet steeped in beans. My stomach was bound to rebel sooner or later when Matt brought up chickpeas for the millionth time.

Here is a very good (and super quick) Rachel Ray recipe called Quick Tagine-Style Chicken. Tagines are these clay pots used in traditional Moroccan cooking. They're gorgeous but heck, I'm a simple Pennsylvania girl so I used my skillet. The original recipe is printed below, and I made it to a T except I doubled all the spices and suggest you do too! What's a little chicken without some spicy intrigue? The recipe also calls for prunes and I was like, "What?! Do I look like an 80-year-old granny?!" so I opted for apricots. Next time I'm going to add a few veggies and perhaps a can of diced tomatoes. Simple and delish, with a savory sweet finish.

The recipe calls for prunes, but I chucked them and opted for apricots.

Definitely double the spices - you can never had too much cumin!

Quick Tagine-Style Chicken
recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed beneath the flat of your knife with the heel of your hand, discard skins
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick) or coarse salt and coarse pepper
  • 2 medium or 1 large yellow skinned onion, quartered and sliced
  • 10 pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
  • 1-ounce box or 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups good quality, low sodium chicken stock,

Spice blend:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika, eyeball it
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, eyeball it
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric, eyeball it
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, a couple pinches


  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a slow stream, and add smashed garlic. Season the chicken with seasoning blend. Scatter chicken around the pan in an even layer. Cook chicken pieces 2 minutes on each side to brown, then add the onions, prunes, raisins and stock. Mix spices n a small dish and scatter over the pot. Cover and reduce to moderate heat. Cook 7 or 8 minutes, remove the lid and stir.

To prepare the couscous, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add couscous, extra-virgin olive oil and scallions and remove the couscous from the stove immediately. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Uncover chicken and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to thicken slightly. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Garnish with chopped cilantro and scallions.

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