Spicy Chicken Tagine with apricots, rosemary, ginger and harissa

There are many wonderful cooking vessels from around the world, if there’s one thing I do enjoy in the culinary world, it is learning and trying out different ethnic cuisines. Today we are going to feature a tagine.

A tagine is a traditional cooking vessel from North Africa.  The unique conical shape of the tagine allows the dish to retain its moisture whilst cooking, rising up the cone and then falling back into the dish locking in the flavor.  It does have a small hole at the top however to let some of the steam escape.  I love this method of slow cooking as it truly tenderizes the meat and vegetables to perfection.  A tagine dish itself is a glorified stew  – aromatic and syrupy, zesty and spicy or sweet and fragrant.  Fruit, herbs, honey and chilles are flavored for pungency and warmth. I also love that you can bring this dish right from the stove to the table, it is so decorative, made of clay and definitely a conversation piece at the table.

I was fortunate enough to be gifted this beautiful tagine vessel by a very good friend. I knew that I would be using it fairly frequently.  We’ve already tried the lamb with dates, olives and preserved lemons.  Today, I’m trying out a chicken dish.

I received the recipe book on Moroccan cooking with the tagine itself, so there was no guesswork involved.

I bought a diffuser so that the tagine could sit on it, (see picture above) in other words it was not in direct contact with the flame.

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Spicy Chicken Tagine with apricots, rosemary, ginger and harissa

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 2.5 hrs
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil with a pat of butter
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, 1 finely chopped, the other 2 cut in half
  • 1 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon harissa paste
  • 1/2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • 1 x 14oz can plum tomatoes with juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a small bunch of fresh green or purple basil leaves
  • preserved lemon skin chopped up in strips for a garnish

Method

  1. Heat the oil and butter in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish.
  2. Stir in the onion, chopped rosemary, ginger and harissa paste and saute until the onion begins to soften.
  3. Stir in the halved rosemary springs and the cinnamon sticks.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and brown them on both sides.  Toss in the apricots with the honey, then stir in the plum tomatoes with their juices.
  5. Add a little water or stock if necessary to ensure there is enough liquid to cover the base of the tagine and submerge the apricots.
  6. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat.
  7. Cover the tagine with the lid and cook gently for 40 minutes.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Shred the larger basil leaves and leave the smaller ones intact.  Sprinkle them over the chicken and serve immediately over a bed of couscous studded with pomegranate arils.

A heart-warming dish friends that will surely be comforting during the winter months.  I will be trying fish and vegetables next.

I’m linking this post to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, and welcoming her co-hosts Johanne and Liz.  Thanks ladies, click on their links for more wonderful recipes and crafts.

54 comments

    1. I think I did read somewhere that it can be used in the oven Julie… I believe it should be a cold oven. The beauty of this vessel is that it is slow cooked method, all the moisture gets trapped in the conical shape and then goes back to the dish, so the meats turn out so tender and flavorful. Yes, the sweet and spicy is always a great flavor profile isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thanks so much, it really is a conversation piece at a dinner party. It works very much like a slow cooker, all the moisture gets locked in resulting in a tender and flavorful dish.

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  1. Looks so delicious, Loretta! I first saw this being used on a TV show on food network, it really caught my attention. Then later I had the opportunity to taste this chicken tagine at a friend’s daughters first birthday party, they are from Morocco, the tagine was so flavorful, just loved it 🙂 I have refrained from buying this pot ( I spotted it at TJ Max) , because I do not know if I can use it on my electric gas with coil heating elements.. Do you have any idea?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, lucky you to know folks from Morocco Freda :). I’m sure you can use it on your stove, but I don’t know what the electric gas with coil heating elements would do? I bought a diffuser which prevented the vessel from coming into direct contact with the gas flame. Also, it is cooked on a very low flame, so the end result is a real moist and flavorful dish. I hope you get to try it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean Liz.. since we downsized, I don’t have enough cabinet space either, so I’ve stored this tagine in the pantry. It really has been a great addition to my kitchen and the results are truly amazing!

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    1. Ha ha thanks Nandini, my sis used to live in Dubai before, I do believe she bought me those. I really will be making use of this vessel in the future, I loved the way the chicken turned out. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Johanne. I’ve just started to make preserved lemons now, it adds such a robust flavor to so many dishes. However, when I made this dish I bought a small jar of them at Wegmans, (it just opened up in Concordville). You’re all set now that you have the harissa too :). You don’t necessarily need the vessel, but it sure makes for a great conversation piece and the ease of cooking in one pot. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  2. Loretta, I want to go out and buy a tagine right now! Your dish looks so flavorful and I love the deep color of the dish. I love the combination of flavors in Moroccan dishes,.What type of Harissa do you get?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Moroccan dishes too Sandhya, I like the contrast of sweet and pungent, the tagine pot itself is also wonderful to add to your kitchen if you have the room, but not necessary. I bought this Harissa at Whole Foods, I didn’t realize there were different kinds? This one just said harissa, and I think some other bloggers have actually made it, so a quick search might reveal a good recipe?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Loretta.I am inspired to try this dish with your great recipe and tips. I like the contrast of sweet and pungent too. A friend of mine had got a rose petal harissa from a niddle eastern store but whole foods is much more accessible for me and yes with so many talented bloggers we can surely find a great harissa recipe too.

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    1. Thanks Linda, have you cooked in this dish before? I know you have some wonderful creations in your kitchen. Wow, a small jar of fresh harissa at the table? You’re mighty brave! :). Thanks for stopping by, it’s always great to get your input.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ana, that’s so kind of you. Actually my friend presented it to me as a thank you gift for doing an Indian/Goan podcast for her course. She videotaped me when I was cooking a curry, and gave this wonderful vessel to me at the end of the taping. I know it will be put to good use. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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    1. Yes, I’m sure Le Creuset do a nice variety. I may have seen them before, but I’m not sure if they are clay or ceramic, I know some are neither, but more modern and probably more versatile.

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      1. I bought one (le creuset) and the bottom is cast iron (black) with a beautiful yellow top. I am looking forward to making some new dishes. Chef Julianna first introduced me to this vessel and you just reinforced it. Have a good week Loretta…

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  3. I love this!! Yummy! Tagines are so delicious and this one sounds and looks fantastic! I am so jealous that you have a proper tagine too, one day I will have one of these and will be checking back on this recipe for one of the things I make in it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve cooked Moroccan dishes before, but never in a tagine, so this was my first attempt. It really turned out super, a nice slow and steady flame brought this dish to perfection. I hope you get to try it out? Perhaps on your wish list for Christmas? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. I like your theme that your blog uses, nice simple lines, what is the name of it do you know? I’m thinking of changing mine around and trying a few out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wont be for christmas but one day when I stop travelling and can actually acquire things that don’t just fit into a backpack then I will be investing in a Tagine!! It will be an awesome day!
        Thanks, the theme is called Rosa. It is a restaurant theme which I got from theme forrest.

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      1. I read a book about pressure cooking when I first got the pot and it stated that it was a good tool for making sauces, it was a complete waste of time and money in the end!!
        I do love the flavours in your tagine, just lovely xx

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  4. What a gorgeous dish! So colourful and sounds so flavourful… I love the sound of sweet and spicy with the harissa, those dried apricots, and the aromatic addition of cinnamon. It was lovely to hear how the tangine works, retaining moisture, and now I understand the reason behind the unique shape 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, now that I’ve mastered the art of tagine cooking, I’m sure to be trying a lot more flavorful dishes. Aside from producing some gorgeous meals, it is definitely a conversation piece at the dinner table. Thanks for stopping by, appreciate the comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chef Mimi, I’m sure you could try this in a regular pot or in a slow cooker. I think the key here is to slow cook the entire meal, the fragrant juices, the sweetness from the dried fruit and the spiciness of the harissa is what makes this dish so flavorful. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  5. Hi Loretta, I am so envious of your beautiful tagine! I just must ask Santa for one this year. When I posted my recipe earlier this year I was envious when you said you had one you had never used much. What a great recipe and it is just deliciously beautiful. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh yes I remember your dish quite well Teresa and I remember telling you that I had not quite used it until now. I do believe I’ll be putting this to good use in the future, it turned out just beautiful. That conical shape contributed to the moistness and flavor of the dish. The lamb too was just succulent and oh so tasty. I hope Santa will be kind to you this Christmas :). Wishing you Happy Holidays too.

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