Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Tajine-like thing

Well, I have actually NO idea how to cook a proper tajine, and in fact I've only eaten them a couple times. However, I was trying to get rid of ingredients, and this is sort of what resulted. When my friend gets back from Morocco, I will be sure to force her to teach me what she's learned.

The proportions below are based on what I used, YMMV.

2 chicken thighs
2 carrots
1/2 large onion
1 can chickpeas (I added the liquid from this as well)
2 tomatoes

1 thai bird chili
5 or so allspice berries
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
5 or 6 small bay leaves
Pinch whole cloves
Pinch whole cumin seeds
A little chopped ginger
A little curry powder
A little ground tumeric
Squirt of honey

Put everything in crockpot. Add a bit of liquid (chicken broth, water)I put it on high for 4 hours, but you could probably throw everything together in the morning, put it on low, and return after work to food. I served it on couscous made instant style (approx equal parts boiling broth/water and couscous), though you can be fancy and steam the couscous. However, unless you're throwing a bit party and trying to impress people, I'd do it the instant way, since it's main role is going to be absorbing the stew broth.

This recipe is kind of basic, and is missing some flavors, though still pretty tasty. You can really go one of either ways based on what I've seen of tajines: You could add sour stuff, like lemon slices including the rind (you could use pickled lemons as well) and green olives (and maybe reduce the "sweeter" spices a bit). Or you could go the sweet-savory route, and add raisins (esp. golden/sultanas) and dried apricots (or apricots preserves).

And a random trivia note:
Nobody in the "Mashraq" "The East" of the Arab world (Egypt and east, basically, as opposed to "al-Maghrib" "The West" basically most of North Africa) would refer to the grain served with this dish as "couscous" since that would sound like an incredibly dirty word repeated twice in the dialects in those regions. Instead, they called it "maftoul" for the small kind, and "maghribi" for the larger kind. Ain't language fun?


Lillian said...

That seems like a lot of spices...maybe the thing missing was just more salt? I find that most 'missing' flavors can be provided by using salt, sugar, and vinegar, rather than adding more spices (which are likely to muddle things up even more). Looks good though, and seems like a nice way to use a crockpot.

Summer said...

I think the only thing that i would not add is curry powder...once you use it , it turns the dish around and makes it pure indian than Moroccon, or north african!
I would use some raisins or dry prunes, but you already used honey which is a nice addition to add some sweetness to the dish. You may add couple of zucchinis to the tajine, just to add variety of veggies to it too.
it is kinda funny what you said about the "couscous" vs. "maftoul"!!!