Chicken Tagine

We had originally planned to cook this Moroccan recipe from Jamie Oliver’s new “Jamie Does…” cookbook last week but the “marinate and refrigerate overnight” foiled us. The same thing nearly happened today but luckily we realised in time and, rather than eat this for lunch as planned, we ate it for dinner instead. Not quite an overnight marinade but a good few hours in the fridge. This cookbook of course accompanies the current television series and the Moroccan episode was one of our favourites, including more unfamiliar and exotic-seeming ingredients and dishes than the other (all European) countries.

I thought we had cooked tagine a few times but a look back through the archives shows just one attempt back in 2007, I didn’t include the recipe in the post and simply said it was good. Not particularly helpful nor interesting to read. I can’t include the recipe here either because this is a Jamie recipe and he doesn’t like it when you do that, it’s not online so you would have to buy the book if you really wanted this exact recipe. Or just pick one of the hundreds of chicken tagine (with olives and preserved lemons) recipes available online, most are pretty similar.

This version included fennel which I don’t like much. I’m trying to like it though so this was a good way to start. It didn’t include any dried fruit which I also don’t like in savoury dishes; that would have been too much to cope with alongside the fennel. The fennel though was surprisingly good; the long cooking softened the harsh, aniseedy flavours and it seemed to meld well with the preserved lemons, coriander and cumin to give a background warmth and deep flavour. The chicken fell off the bone and there was plenty of liquid too which was full of flavour.

And that concludes our weekend of intensive cooking. Having planned a lazy weekend, we ended up spending most of the time in the kitchen. We ate well though and are well prepared for the week ahead so it was time well spent.

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