A client has asked me to teach her housekeeper to cook with her tagine. Now I am embarrassed to say that I have cooked many tagines, but not in an actual tagine. I also have a tagine standing very decoratively in my collection sadly gathering dust! So what a great excuse to dust it off and give it the love it has been lacking for so long while I make sure that I can teach this technique with confidence.
The one Morocco dish I fell in love with years ago was the chicken with preserved lemons and green olive. What a spectacularly unique (at least in our South African kitchens) set of flavours. So this is the dish I christened my tagine with today and the result were succulency moist chicken with a salty, lemony, olivey sauce that I can't wait to mop up later with loads of saffron and almond couscous!
In Cape supermarkets, you readily find bottled lime pickle with the other Cape Malay condiments and even though it isn't strictly speaking the Moroccan preserved lemon, it is delicious and readily available.
This dish is just as easily made in an appropriately sized casserole dish with a well fitting lid.
Moroccan chicken, lime pickle and green olive tagine
8 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
3 Tbsp of Nomu Moroccan spice rub
1 Tbsp of olive oil
½ a cup of strong chicken stock
4 Tbsp of olive brine (the water the olives come in)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp of fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 pieces of pickled lime skin, fruit removed from the skin and cut into thin slices
24 pitted green olives
Pre heat your oven on grill and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Mix the spices with the oil and rub onto the chicken thighs. Lie them skin side up into your tagine base on top of the chopped onions. Grill the chicken for about 15 minutes until the skin has browned. Remove the tagine and add the remaining ingredients and cover with the lid.
Place the rack at the bottom of the oven, return the tagine to the oven and reduce the temperature to 160˚C on all round heat. Bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool with the lid on for a further 30 minutes before serving with saffron and almond couscous.