Monday, 5 January 2009

A Winter Warmer

STILL fighting the flu, I've eaten a lot of spicy food this weekend - not just to help unblock my sinuses - but also because it's the only thing I can taste.
Last night I made a delicious Moroccan-inspired chicken tagine. It's not strictly a tagine, as I cooked it in a Le Creuset casserole dish, rather than a traditional funnel-lidded pot.
However, it's full of North African flavours and, like Nigella, I think calling it a tagine sounds a bit more exotic than just a stew, and who doesn't need something a bit exotic on a dank and dark January night?
So if you need something to unblock your nasal passages, and are sick of Night Nurse or Beecham's capsules, here is a perfect pick-me-up recipe.

Chicken and Apricot Tagine (Serves Two but can easily be halved or doubled, or quadrupled...)

  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and sliced finely
  • 1 tsp Aegean olive oil/groundnut/vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch batons
  • 5 soft dried apricots
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
  • Half a cinnamon stick
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 50-75g cous cous per person (made up to packet instructions)
  • Handful toasted flaked almonds
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  1. In a heavy bottomed, lidded dish, heat 1tsp of oil
  2. Add the onion and put the lid on the dish, allowing it to sweat over a medium heat for five minutes, or until slightly soft
  3. Meanwhile, take the chicken out of the fridge, chop it up and rub with 1tsp of ras el hanout and some salt and pepper. Set aside
  4. Add the garlic to the cooking pot and fry for another minute, and then the carrot pieces
  5. Add the cinammon stick, cumin and ras el hanout and fry for another minute
  6. Stir in the tomato puree, coating the onion and carrot with all the spices
  7. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, followed by the honey and stir to coat.
  8. Crumble in the stock cube and the add enough hot water so that the vegetables are covered in liquid.
  9. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Put the lid on the dish
  10. Cook for about 40 minutes until the liquid has reduced, the sauce is thick and the vegetables tender
  11. Add the apricots and check the seasoning
  12. Thirty minutes before you are ready to serve up, add the chicken and allow it to poach gently in the sauce, it'll take about 20 or 25 minutes to cook depending on the size of the pieces
  13. Turn off the heat and allow the dish to rest while you prepare the cous cous
  14. Serve with cous cous and sprinkle with plenty of chopped coriander, flaked almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.


Jim said...

Hmm sounds good to me Emily, where do you get your spices.

Do you happen to know a source for shirataki noodles?

Emily said...

Hi Jim
Thanks for your comment. I got the Bart's ras el hanout from Tesco at Five Ways, they seem to have all manner of ethnic ingredients there, from Lebanese to Polish, Italian to Bangladeshi.

For Oriental ingredients, I usually head to the supermarket in the Arcadian, they have all types of noodles there. Failing that Harvey Nichols and Selfridges' food hall both have good stocks but you pay a premium. If there is no rush has them for £1.58 a pack!

Good luck, let me know what you use them for! I am beginner when it comes to Japanese cookery although I did have a sushi making kit for Christmas which I can't wait to test out sometime!


Jim said...

Thanks for that Link Emily,

I didn't have any particular use ijn mind for the noodles, just fancied trying them really. A friend of mine in London raves about them in miso soup.

Emily said...

No problem. They are meant to be very good for you, and added to miso soup, what could be better?