Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Almonds Recipe
Tagine? Have you ever seen one? Originating in North Africa more than eight centuries ago, this Arabic term refers to a ceramic or terracotta cooking bowl with a cone hat lid to ensure slow, even cooking. The result is a dish that appears and tastes like a stew made with fall-off-the-bone meat and vegetables with a sauce. In the collection of stories and folktales One Thousand and One Nights from another century, a lamb tagine is even mentioned.
Dark meats are used in this version of a tagine because they keep their moisture longer when braised, but you may use white meat if you want to. In general, this dish combines Moroccan combinations of spices, from tumeric, which is shaved off an orange root, to the cumin seeds, which grow in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. This recipe gave me the opportunity to use a few spices in my cabinet that don’t get used very often.
To make this dish you do not need to use a tagine but a dutch oven will be just as good. However, I got the opportunity to use my new tagine that I received as a gift from my best friend Jessica during my bridal shower. In order to make my tagine heat-resistant, I followed the instructions to “season” it first. That way I could ensure the flame never touched the base of the tagine. The result was a delicious, succulent, perfectly cooked chicken. Unlike the herbs and spices we typically use in Italian or French cuisine, this sauce was so tasty that we both enjoyed it.
This recipe is for Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Almonds.
There are 4 servings to this Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Almonds recipe.
These are the ingredients you need:
- Three tablespoons olive oil, divided
- One and a half cups sliced onions
- Minced garlic cloves, 3 large cloves.
- Half teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
- A generous tablespoon of coarse kosher salt
- Half a teaspoon of turmeric
- Half a teaspoon of ground coriander
- Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds, ground
- Half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- Ground cumin 1/4 tsp.
- A quarter teaspoon of ginger powder
- A cup of drained, canned diced tomatoes (14-ounce can).
- Water 1/2 cup
- Half a teaspoon of (or more) fresh lemon juice
- Four prepared skinned chicken thighs with bones
- Four chicken drumsticks, skinned
- One small eggplant, unpeeled, cut into cubes of 1 inch in size.
- Half a teaspoon of chopped fresh marjoram
- 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds (slivered or whole) toasted
- Fresh chopped cilantro
The directions are as follows:
- One and a half teaspoons of olive oil should be heated in an oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, covered, onions soft. Add the paprika, cumin, pepper, fennel, turmeric, coriander, salt, and ginger. Stir 1 minute. Put tomatoes, water, and lemon juice into a saucepan and heat until boiling.
- Spread the chicken into a single layer in the pot; spoon a small amount of sauce over it. Cook until it boils. Then, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes of simmering, turn chicken over and continue to simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes longer.
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F in the meantime. Toss eggplant with remaining 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in large bowl. Place the eggplant on a large rimmed baking sheet and brush with olive oil. On a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper, spread eggplant evenly and bake until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
- Cook chicken in olive oil and add the eggplant and marjoram. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, to ensure the flavors are blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and season with more lemon juice if desired. If you didn’t use a tagine, place chicken into a large shallow bowl. Add cilantro and almonds.
Make Ahead Tips: Prepare the eggplant and chicken 1 day in advance. Cool slightly. Refrigerate separately until cold, then cover and refrigerate.