This is soooo good, you guys! I've made it before using a cast iron pan and cover, but Andrew's dad gave me a tagine for Christmas this year. I'm finally getting around to using it and kicking myself for not breaking it in sooner because not only is it gorgeous, but the chicken was moist and tender and the flavor and fragrance was all around awesome. This would be a fun dish to serve to guests. I like to serve this with wild rice (Minnesotan wild rice, of course) because it goes well with the apricots. Not very authentic, I'm sure, but it tastes good.
Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, May 2006
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 pounds skinless chicken tenders (depending on how much chicken you like. I used about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, halved, then sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 fresh cilantro sprigs
5 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, coarsely chopped (you can substitute California apricots, which are less sweet)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Stir together ground cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat well.
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in base of tagine (or you can substitute a skillet), uncovered, over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then brown half of chicken, turning over once, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown remaining chicken in same manner, adding any spice mixture left in bowl.
Add onion and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to tagine and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Tie cilantro and parsley into a bundle with kitchen string and add to tagine along with 1/2 cup water, chicken, and any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.
While chicken cooks, bring honey, remaining cup water, cinnamon stick, and apricots to a boil in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until apricots are very tender (add more water if necessary). Once apricots are tender, simmer until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 10 to 15 minutes.
While apricots cook, toast almonds in a pan over medium heat until browned.
Ten minutes before chicken is done, add apricot mixture to tagine. Discard herbs and cinnamon stick, then serve chicken sprinkled with almonds on top.