Moroccan Pot Luck, Aisha-Style
My first pot-luck in Morocco, I decided to contribute chocolate chip cookies. I struggled to convert fahrenheit to celsius (note to bakers: 350F = ~177C), beat a chocolate bar into chips, and explain, using the little French I knew, the difference between baking powder and baking soda. My cookies came out flat, but well-praised. I yearned for the grace of Aisha’s chicken tagine. She arrived carrying it, prepared in advance by her maid, in a pressure cooker. A few moments reheating on the stove, and it was perfect.
The following recipe for chicken tagine is one I have made at home several times. I cook everything in a pressure cooker, SEB being the preferred brand in Morocco, but any large pot will do. All measurements are approximate, so adjust seasoning and cooking time to suite your own taste. Enjoy.
- 1 whole chicken (you can use fava beans for a tasty vegetarian version)
- 1 onion chopped
- crushed garlic to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tspn salt (add more to taste)
- 1 tbsp powdered ginger
- 1 tbsp tumeric or lesser amount of crushed saffron
- 1 tspn of cumin
- 1 jar green olives
- 2 preserved lemons. Discard the insides and cut the remaining rind into slices. Note: you can make your own preserved lemons or buy preserved lemons online. You can also find them in a middle-eastern speciality grocery or even in Whole Foods near the olive bar.
- Sautee onion in olive oil.
- Add garlic and sautee lightly.
- Add chicken and lightly brown. Cook with legs down.
- Add tumeric or saffron, salt, and ginger.
- Cover chicken 1/2 to 2/3 with water. Cover the pot 2/3 of the way with a lid and cook on medium high heat unti the chicken easily pulls away from the bone with a fork.
- Add olives, preserved lemon rind slices, and cumin.
Traditionally this is served over a bed of french fries. However, I like to cook some potatos and carrots in the chicken broth and serve everything together like a stew.