Chicken & Date “Tagine” | Herb Couscous

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might be a little confused… I cook food from a mosaic of different influences, so it can seem hard to predict what’s coming up next every week. The food I make shifts depending on who’s around me, and what ingredients I get to use. I’m Nigerian-American, my wife is Colombian, and through friends, travel and other adventures, I’ve been exposed to flavors from Brazil, Korea, Eastern Europe, the Middle East.

Somewhere along the way, I got exposed to Moroccan flavors–and they’ve definitely made their mark on the way I cook. I love all of the intricate combinations of colors, and flavors, and I’ve definitely expanded my spice cabinet to experiment. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I hope I’ll get the chance to explore the cuisine (and other aspects of the culture, and history, of course) to learn first-hand. All this to say that I do my best to both curious, and respectful of the array of food cultures from around the world.

This is a simple stew of chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, and dates. A “tagine” is a special cone-shaped cooking pot that gives the stew its name…but naturally I don’t have one, hence the quotation marks in the title. I did my best to make up for it with the flavors in the stew–you be the judge. This is a slowly simmer stew that’s full of savory, sweet and sour notes that help it fit in at any time of year.

Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

2 lb Chicken Breast/Thighs, cubed
3 Shallots, sliced thinly
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
4 Cups Chickpeas
2 Cups Tomato Puree
1 Cup Dried Dates, pitted and minced
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
2 Cups Couscous
1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds
2 Bay Leaves
1 Cup Parsley, chopped
4 Cloves
1 Cinnammon Stick
1 Tbs Pomegranate Molasses
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Ginger Powder
1/2 Tsp Dried Mint
1/2 Tsp Saffron
2 Tbs Olive Oil Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Season chicken with salt, paprika, coriander, and cumin. Sear on all sides in a heavy stock pot on medium high heat, then lower the heat to medium, and transfer chicken to a heat safe container.

2. Add olive oil, shallots, and garlic to the pot, and stir until translucent. Pour in salt, cumin seeds, the cinnamon stick, and bay leaves. Stir until you hear the cumin seeds begin to “pop”, then add tomato puree to fully deglaze the pot. Add paprika, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and black pepper, stir, and cover to bring to a simmer.

3. Return chicken to the simmering stew, and continue to cook until the tomatoes lose their sourness. Add pomegranate molasses, and small amounts of water as needed. Stir in chickpeas, chopped dates, and parsley, and continue to simmer for at least thirty minutes, or until the stew thickens.

4. In a separate dry pot, quickly toast couscous on medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, slivered almonds, salt, and pepper, then cover with water, and boil until fully cooked. Stir chopped parsley into the couscous once it has cooled.

5. Plate and serve.

Done.

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