Ditalini’s branching out. Last night she decided to use our tajine pot for the first time, preparing a recipe she adapted from a tajine cookbook: Chicken Tajine with Harissa, Artichokes, and Grapes. To make the recipe she first had to prepare a pepper paste called harissa, and I include both recipes here, the harissa and the chicken tajine.
But first, the bad news: you’ll need half a preserved lemon. We have those on hand because we use them in another favorite recipe, Ditalini’s Rotten Chicken. If you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, they’re easy to make, but you need to prepare them 3-4 weeks ahead. Start the lemons now, then come back next month and try this recipe!
And now, the good news. You don’t have to have a tajine pot to prepare this meal. Any heavy lidded casserole or Dutch oven will work, so no excuses!
Soak chilis in warm water for 1 hour. Drain and squeeze out any water. Purée in a food processor with garlic and salt. Blend in spices and olive oil. Leftover harissa paste can be stored in a sealed container with a little olive oil on top.
Ingredients (Chicken Tajine)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breasts cut into strips or chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, halved lengthwise & sliced
1/2 preserved lemon, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp harissa paste
2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 13-oz jar artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, halved
fresh green grapes, halved (16-24 grapes)
sea salt, pepper
Directions (Chicken Tajine)
Toss chicken in marinade, then cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Heat oil in tajine or casserole. Stir in onions, preserved lemon, and sugar; sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly caramelized. Add marinated chicken, harissa paste, and tomato paste. Pour in stock, stir so that everything is coated well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, cook 15 minutes.
Toss in artichoke hearts, cover again, cook an additional 5 minutes. Add grapes and cilantro, season to taste with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, garnish with additional cilantro.
More Photos (click thumbnails to see larger)
Although we ate our Chicken Tajine with rice, as shown in the photo, it’s traditionally served with flat bread or couscous.