Tajine with chicken and vegetables

Such tajine with chicken and vegetables seems to be served everywhere in Morocco. Tagine is very easy to cook. It’s not necessary to use tajine pot for this purpose – you can replace it with wok or any deep (high enough) pan suitable for frying. It should be equipped with a lid. The amount of ingredients listed below requires a pan at least of 4-liter capacity.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 chicken thighs (or 600-700 g of boneless thighs)
  • 500-600 of potatoes
  • 400 of green bell pepper (Moroccans use variety with thin flesh)
  • 300-400 g of tomatoes
  • 400 g of young courgettes
  • 200 g of carrots
  • 200 g of onions
  • ~4 tsp of rass el hanout
  • ~3 tsp of salt
  • 1 salted lemon
  • 50 ml of water
  • Flavorless oil

If Moroccans lack of some vegetables out of the list of ingredients above, they keep calm and replace them with those they have. So if you could not find any vegetables from the list – feel free to omit it (like I did this time, as you see, some ingredients are missing on my pictures). Keep in mind that 1 kg of vegetables/meat requires 1 tsp of salt.

Vegetarians can exclude chicken or replace it with fish.

Salted lemon is not a necessary ingredient, but it gives some special exotic flavour, even if you add 1/4. To keep perfect pinch of sourness, don’t exclude both – salted lemon & tomatoes. At least 1 tomato or 1/4 of salted lemon is a must.

Instructions

1. Wash and peel vegetables that need it. Now cut:

  • Potatoes & tomatoes in 1 cm thick circles.
  • Carrots & courgettes & bell peppers in long thick strips (I divide a piece of carrot in 6 parts longwise and a pepper in 8)
  • Salted lemon in thin circles or in thin strips, if it was cut prior to be salted.
  • Onions will be so tender that it will almost fall apart in the end of cooking. So there’s no need to cut it too thin.
Moroccan vegetable tagine
My courgettes look strange, because they were frozen

2. Moroccans usually precook chicken: they fry it until it’s done, but do not brown it too much. I would suggest reducing labour and use raw chicken.

Rub some salt and rass el hanout under the skin. Pour some oil in a frying pan and place chicken thighs with the skin down. Put minced onion around the chicken in order to cover the rest of pan’s bottom and sprinkle some rass el hanout over it.

Chicken tajine

3. Now you should arrange vegetables in layers over the chicken, one by one. Give salt and sprinkle rass el hanout over each layer. The first will be potato layer, then courgettes & carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes and then top tagine with slices of salted lemon.

Tajine au poulet

4. Cover the pan and switch on high or medium high heat. Cook 5 min. Then reduce the heat to medium level and cook 15 min.

Condensate
Avoid uncovering the pan: tenderness of tajine depends on condensate that drops back to the dish

5. Reduce the heat to medium low level and cook another 15 min.

6. Add 50 ml of water, put the lid back and cook 25-30 min.

7. The dish is ready.

Of course one can continue stewing on a low heat even for an hour, like it’s done in Moroccan restaurants. But in this case you should keep an eye and add 50-100 ml of water in time, if you don’t want to serve burned chicken like it goes in some restaurants.

Tagine with chicken and vegetables is a self-sufficient dish. It can be served with khobz. But if you wish you may garnish it prior to serving with boiled rice or couscous.

Tagine au poulet et legumes
This is the way tajine cooked without water (Step 6) looks like. But the chicken appeared to be less tender than it could be
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