Here is part two of last night’s Moroccan Monday dinner: tagine with chicken, chick-peas and apricots, a fairly easy, flavor-packed dish that cooks in one big pot for easy clean-up. I bookmarked this recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist column in The New York Times last week. And while the actual cooking is hard to mess up, this dish is much more user-friendly if you already have a well-stocked spice rack.
And when I came back from Coachella craving healthy and flavorful food with the caveat that I didn’t want to cook with anything I couldn’t buy at Trader Joe’s—I wasn’t hot to do a multi-store shopping bonanza—I knew exactly what I was going to make.
I replaced fresh ginger in Bittman’s original recipe with the dried ginger I had on hand, substituted quinoa in for bulgur (to make it gluten-free), and tossed in an extra chicken thigh or two for yuks. While the entire cooking process took a little over an hour, this recipe yielded enough for three of us to eat as an entree and still leave plenty of leftovers.
And having just eaten some for lunch, I can vouch that it tastes even better the next day. To the genius who came up with the idea of cooking dried fruit with meat:
I salute you.
Tagine with Chicken, Chick-Peas, and Apricots
Time: About 1 hour
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 small skinless chicken thighs
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic, or 2 big cloves
- 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 cup chopped tomato, fresh or canned or boxed, with juice (I used heirloom grape tomatoes)
- 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, with the liquid reserved
- 1 to 2 cups chicken stock, bean liquid or water, or more as needed
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A few sprigs of parsley (for garnish)
Put oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken and brown well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dried apricots and tomato. Cook and stir just long enough to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan.
Add chickpeas and 1 cup of stock or bean liquid to the pan and turn heat back to medium-high. When mixture reaches a gentle bubble, return chicken to the pan. Add stock if needed. Cover pot, turn heat to low and cook, checking occasionally to make sure the mixture is bubbling gently, for about 15 minutes or until tomatoes break down and flavors begin to meld.
Stir in quinoa, adding more stock if necessary so that the mixture is covered with about a half-inch of liquid. Season with salt and pepper, adding less salt if your chicken stock was salted. Cover and cook until the chicken and bulgur are both done, about 15 more minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve in bowls garnished with parsley.