Some cookbooks I knew I'd love from the start, but Soup's On, a compilation cookbook that I got for my wedding, was not one of them. But, as it turns out, the editors actually picked some great recipes from some well-respected chefs. I've been using that thing for months now, and it hasn't let me down yet. Asparagus and Rice Soup, Lentil and Bacon Soup, Curried Squash and Apple Soup--all of those were great.
So I had no reservations about trying the recipe taken from Kitty Morse's Cooking at the Kasbah. I just looked at it, bought the necessary ingredients, and went forward. It wasn't until about halfway through that I questioned whether this was much of a soup at all. The only liquid is a cup of stock, which has to provide the base for 2 pounds of chicken and 2 pounds of potatoes. Would there be any liquid at all?
Well, there wasn't much, but that didn't stop it from working. The turmeric and ginger meld with the chicken, and after 50 minutes the potatoes start to break apart and soak up the liquid that's left. I actually liked the potatoes most. I think what really elevates this dish are the last-minute additions. The peas lend a slight sweetness to the affair, while the lemon gave some much needed acidity. I actually would recommend squeezing some more lemon on at the table.
Of course, this isn't much of an authentic tagine (or tajine, or however you spell it) because I don't actually have the special pot of the same name that you're supposed to cook it in. But the recipe says a dutch oven will work, too. It all ended well. Even if I had to trade that spoon for a knife and fork.
Spring Tagine of Chicken with Potatoes and Peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
- 2 pounds new potatoes, peeled
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, tied with string
- 1/2 punch fresh parsley, tied with string
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups frozen petite peas
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a tangine or dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Add the potatoes, cilantro and parsley, onions, stock, garlic, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper. Stir well, and then cover and place in an oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the chicken is done and the potatoes are soft.
Remove pot from the oven and discard the cilantro and parsley. Pour in the peas, and lemon juice. Stir well, and season with salt to taste.