Chicken is undoubtedly one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. Whether baked, roasted, grilled, pan-fried or skewered, it’s indeed a standard go-to food among virtually all meat eaters. While I regularly eat a healthy balance of foods from all the major food groups, chicken is definitely one of my personal staples.
But, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s very easy to run out of recipe ideas. Fortunately, I own dozens of cookbooks that evoke continuous inspiration. The recipe I’m going to share was originally published in a unique cookbook called The Chile Pepper Bible.
This book offers a lot of spicy and savory chicken-based recipes incorporating chile peppers and other pungent natural flavorings. Chile peppers can substantially boost the overall nutritional value of any food, as they’re incredibly rich in vitamin C, carotenoids and capsaicin, which is a natural compound that supports thermogenesis, fat burning, and heart health.
So, if you’re a health-conscious individual like myself, and chicken is one of your go-to foods, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this “Tangy Tagine of Chicken with Apricots” recipe. Suitable for most meat-based eating styles (including low-carb and gluten-free diets), it’s a fiery yet mildly sweet stew-like preparation named after the earthenware pot in which it’s traditionally cooked.
What You Need
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 pounds of bone-in skin-on chicken pieces, cut into serving-size pieces (breasts and large thighs, halved)
- 2 onions, thinly sliced on the vertical
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of minced gingerroot
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of cracked black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (2 inches/5 cm long)
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1-2 tablespoons of harissa (chile) paste*
- 1 tablespoon of liquid honey
- 12 dried apricots, halved
- 1⁄4 cup of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup of toasted pine nuts
Tip: To make this tagine “gluten-free”, be sure to check the label on your harissa paste, as some contain wheat ingredients as fillers.
How to Prepare
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, in batches, if necessary, and lightly brown it on both sides; takes about 3 minutes per batch. Once the chicken is lightly browned, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.
Add the onions to a pan and cook them, stirring for about 3 minutes until they’ve softened. Next, add the garlic, ginger, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon stick and cook them all, stirring for about 1 minute. Stir in the stock and harissa paste to taste and then add the honey until it’s blended. Then add the apricots and chicken to the sauce and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer the blend until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced. This should take about 30 minutes. Tip: Using an instant-read thermometer is the surest way to determine when your chicken is cooked. Inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, it should register 165°F (74°C).
Once it’s done, discard the bay leaves.
Garnish the stew with the cilantro and pine nuts and serve it immediately. Tip: If you prefer a more concentrated sauce, transfer the finished chicken to a platter and keep it warm. You can then boil the cooking liquid over high heat until it’s reduced, which should take about 4 minutes, and then return the chicken to the sauce before serving.
And there you have it: “Tangy Tagine of Chicken with Apricots”. Rich in high-quality protein and vital micronutrients, this preparation has an unbelievably savory flavor and perfect texture. The recipe itself is robust enough to feed as many as 6 people.
For an impressive presentation, prepare some couscous, millet or quinoa and arrange it in a ring around the edge of a deep serving platter, fill the center with stew, and then garnish it. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible by Judith Finlayson © 2016. Reprinted with publisher permission.