Tag Archives: Chicken

Morocco – Chicken and Lemon Tagine

I love lemons.  I can’t explain how much I love them.  My favourite cake is lemon drizzle.  I love those sugar coated lemon slices you get at Christmas and don’t even get me started on Limoncello (or remind me of that night I spent trying all the free samples in Sorrento).  So when I decided to cook a Moroccan dish I was drawn straightaway to a tagine involving lemon.  I have never tried preserved lemons before (although claim to fame, Christine Hamilton once asked me for a jar of them when I worked in Sainsbury’s), but I thought they’re lemons what’s not to love.  Well how wrong I was.  The tagine smelt and tasted amazing but every now and then I would get a mouthful of metallic, soapy mush.  The little greeny, yellow morsels gave such a blast of flavour that every following mouthful was tainted by their intensity.  So, I don’t like preserved lemons, which is a bit annoying as now I have a giant (expensive) jar of them staring back at me every time I open my fridge.

Now you may think it strange that I have included a recipe that I didn’t like, but apart from the lemons the tagine was amazing, the chicken melted off the bone and the fennel yielded a sweet aniseed flavour that mixed perfectly with the seasoned couscous.  Also everyone else that tried it, liked it, lemons and all.  So if you are a fan of preserved lemons feel free to try the recipe as written, if not swap the lemons for a 100g green olives.  Whichever way you try it, enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in)
  • 1 bulb fennel – chopped into wedges
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 preserved lemons – deseeded and chopped
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to season

For the Marinade

  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 3tsp olive oil

Method

Put the chicken in a bowl.  Mix the cumin, coriander seeds, ginger and oil together and use to coat the chicken pieces.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat some olive oil in a tagine or casserole dish.  Fry a couple of pieces of chicken at a time, skin side down, until golden.

Put all the chicken in the pot and add the fennel wedges, onion and garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat then add the saffron, lemons and stock.  Stir everything together and cover the pot with the tagine lid (or if using a casserole dish cover with foil and then the lid).  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours.  Half way through check the dish, if it looks dry add a splash of water.

When ready check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with hot couscous.

Japan – Tori Nabe

I have always enjoyed Japanese food, whether eating sushi in a restaurant or making my own restorative ramen dishes.  But I have always thought of the food as an Anglicised version of the original so I decided to find a traditional recipe.  The recipes I found for Nabe seemed to be quite flexible, adding different meats, vegetables and bases for the broth.  The recipe I settled on turned out to be quite bland, the kombu broth did not add enough flavour for my liking.  I tried it with some sliced chilli, as I would put in my own ramen dishes, but found that this overpowered the subtlety of the kombu.  After trying a variety of versions I settled on the one below.  The ginger adds some warmth and depth to the dish and complements the kombu rather than covering it up.  This is a great meal to serve for friends as there is very little preparation and served at the table it makes an interesting talking point.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 piece of dried kombu, or 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1cm cube ginger, grated
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs – cut into cubes
  • 1 block of firm tofu cut into 1cm cubes
  • 4 Savoy cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
  • Carrot – very finely sliced
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1 pack of mixed mushrooms, including shitake and enoki
  • 1 leek – thinly sliced
  • 1 pack of fresh udon noodles

Condiments:

Soy sauce

lemon or lime juice

Method

Put the kombu in a pot and add 1 litre of water, leave to soak for 30 mins. Put on the hob and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes, remove and finely slice, put to one side.  (Or if using stock bring to the boil.)  Add the ginger to the stock and continue to simmer.

Prepare all your ingredients. Add the chicken to the stock and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tofu and vegetables (leeks, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, kombu) and noodles.  Skim off any scum that rises to the surface to keep the broth clear. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the noodles are soft.

Traditionally the nabe is served in the pot and the table and your guests help themselves, eating the meat, vegetables and noodles, then finishing off with the broth.  If you have a tabletop cooker you can provide extra vegetables and meat at the table and add these throughout, like a Japanese fondue!  Soy sauce and lemon or lime juice should be provided so your guests can season the nabe to their own taste.