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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Chicken Tagine

 

Chicken Tagine (2)

Chicken Tagine is a traditional Moroccan, and regional north African dish. The Tagine, above, can be compared to a Dutch oven. A Tagine is similar to the Dutch oven because it has a heavy bottom pot for the ingredients to rest in, evenly retains heat, and allows for condensation of water to rise to the top, of this pyramid-shaped tight-fitting lid, and slowly come back down to the bottom where the food is placed. This lets the food cook low and slow. It’s stovetop and oven safe.

I want to note, in most cases, Dutch ovens are usually made of cast iron and then covered with an enamel coating. The Tagine is made of ceramic and makes it slightly different when talking about preheating the pot. It’s REALLY important that there is always something in the Tagine, like oil, and that you start it on low heat.

The unique spice profile of preserved lemons and green olives add a perfect balance to this braised chicken dish.

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Cilantro

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 to 45 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or neutral-flavored oil)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or neutral-flavored oil)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
2-inch piece of freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon cumin seeds lightly crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 a heaping cup of sliced preserved lemon peels
1/4 heaping cup of pitted sliced green olives
1 large pinch of saffron threads
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch dice
2 1/4 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 heaping tablespoon Agave nectar
2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves, finely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Note:
If you don’t own a Tagine you can use a Dutch oven.
Due to the height of the Tagine, you may need to remove the top rack from the oven. The Tagine should be placed in the middle of the oven. You can use a Dutch oven to make this dish.

Season all 8 thighs with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to the bottom pan of the Tagine. Start heating the pan on medium-low heat. Place 4 of the chicken thighs skin side down and then turn the heat up to medium. Do this in two batches so as not to overcrowd the chicken thighs. Once both batches have been browned nicely, about 10 to 12 minutes, remove the chicken thighs and set aside. Drain all fat from the bottom of the Tagine dish.

With the exception of the cinnamon stick, place all the spices from the ingredient list above in a sealed plastic baggie. Using a meat mallet lightly crush the spices.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add the 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil.  Add the shallots to the pan. Cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and grated ginger and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the cinnamon sticks and all the lightly crushed spices. Cook for 1 minute more.

Add the butternut squash into the pot and stir to coat with the spices. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on the top of the squash and shallots. Pour the chicken stock over the chicken. Add the Agave nectar. Spread the sliced olives and preserved lemons all over the top. Bring all this up to a gentle simmer, place the Tagine lid on and transfer to oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of chicken is 165-degrees F. and the chicken is tender.

Once the dish is done, remove the lid, scatter chopped cilantro over the top. Chicken Tagine pairs beautifully with your favorite couscous recipe.
Serve hot.

 

 

 

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Mussels With Garlic Basil Bread Crumbs

 

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This style of mussels are so delicious. Most importantly, the broth that rests in the bottom of the bowl is heavenly. For this recipe, I’m focusing on the toasted bread crumbs.

To get my recipe for this broth, go to the search button at the top right and type in “mussels”. That will take you right to my post on “Mussels, Updated”

Having the toasted flavored bread crumbs nestled inside the shells gives great texture to the mussels.The fresh herbs and garlic add extra flavor. It’s so simple to make. Let me show you.

I have six pounds of mussels that I’ve divided into two batches. For the first night of our mussel extravaganza, I made them my traditional way. The second night, I thought I’d change it up a bit. Making them with garlic basil bread crumbs. Still using my delicious broth as a base, but instead of using crusty bread along side, I would add the bread into the recipe.

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It’s important to remember to always clean you mussels in advance. Cleaning the beards, scrubbing the shells, and also making sure the mussels discard any sand they may have. To do this, fill up your sink with cold water and add a couple of tablespoons of flour. Mix the flour around with your hands, then add the mussels right in. They will filter out the sand by drinking in the flour that’s in the water.Pretty cool! I usually let them stay in the sink for about 10 minutes.This will prevent any sand from getting into your final dish. You don’t want the mussels to release any sand they may be holding and it ending up in your broth.

Have a large pot on the stove, preheated, on med-high heat. Add the cleaned mussels to the pot. Pour in a whole bottle of white wine. Place the lid on and let the mussels steam. Once all the mussels have opened, they’re done. If you see any that have not opened discard them. I like to stir the mussels once through the steaming process so they can all drink up some of the wine. This whole process happens really quickly.

Yields: 2 servings at 1-1/2 pounds per person
Prep Time for Mussels: 30-40 minutes (includes filtering the sand out in the sink)Prep Prep Time for bread crumbs: 10 minutes
Cook Time for bread crumbs: 5-7 minutes
Equipment: large stock pot
Ingredients:
recipe of the broth is at “Mussels updated”
3 pounds of cleaned mussels
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 stick of melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2-1/2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
5 cloves of garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley
1-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves

Directions:
As I mentioned earlier, I’m using 3 pounds of mussels for this recipe. I start with a stick of unsalted melted butter in a large saute pan, on medium heat. I sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper to the melted butter. This will season the bread crumbs. To the melted butter add in Italian style bread crumbs. Using a spatula, toss the bread crumbs through so that they get covered with the butter. Folding the bread crumbs continuously, until the bread crumbs have absorbed all the butter and have toasted up nicely. This take about 5-7 minutes or so. Once they are all nice and toasted,  turn the heat off and set them to the side.

In a food processor, add in some garlic cloves that have been halved. and pulse them until a few times until they’re minced. In a large bowl add the minced garlic. To the bowl add in pine nuts and lemon zest.

Next, for the fresh herbs. I have fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and fresh basil leaves. I add those into the food processor and pulse them a few times just to the point where they are chopped but not minced. I want to see their green color come through when they are mixed with the bread crumbs.

Add the toasted bread crumbs into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together. When ready to plate, ladle the broth into the bottom of the bowl, then the cooked mussels. Finish by generously sprinkling the toasted garlic basil bread crumbs over the top.

 

 

 

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