A few weeks ago, Madhouse Daddy came home from the supermarket proudly clutching this. It's a tagine, a traditional terracotta North African cooking pot, that is widely used in Morocco and Tunisia. I had mentioned in the past about wanting one after our holidays to both of those countries and having sampled the local cuisine.
As he also brought home a tub of preserved lemons, I took this as a not-so-subtle hint that he wanted me to make Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives, a dish that I made in the slow cooker last time.
The first step was browning the chicken on all sides to give it some nice colour.
I went and picked the last of the red and orange peppers from the plants on the patio.
I drizzled a little olive oil in the bottom of the tagine then threw in some courgettes, onions and peppers.
I placed the chicken thighs on top, sprinkled over some Moroccan ras-el-hanout spices, put the lid on and put it on the hob. I remember Ali, our Moroccan cookery guide in Agadir, telling us that putting a tagine straight onto a naked flame is a surefire way to make it shatter. You can buy heat diffusers to put underneath them or he used a piece of foil folded over four or five times, so that was what I did. This did make a lot of mess on the cooker though, for some reason, so I'll definitely look into buying a heat diffuser. The tagine didn't crack though, which was a result ! (Once it was cooking, I looked online and discovered that you should leave your brand new tagine to soak in water for several hours before using it, to help stop it breaking - luckily mine resisted, despite me not doing this !)
I left it to cook for about an hour and added the halved preserved lemons and some olives halfway through the cooking time. I wasn't sure how high the heat needed to be so put it on quite a high heat, which meant that the vegetables at the bottom of the tagine got a bit burned. I'd use a lower heat setting next time.
It made a nice change to the usual Sunday roast, served with fruity couscous and baked tomatoes.
If you want an express version of this recipe, you might like to try out my Quick Midweek Moroccan Chicken too.
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