Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quick Tagine-Style Chicken , Morrocan Style

Before I share this recipe with you, I have to tell you that I have not learned to appreciate Indian food. I really want to, but I have an aversion to yellow curry that I have tried to overcome-- but to no avail. When I was dating my husband, I knew he loved Indian food. So, for one of my "seduction dinners", (about 5 years ago) I made this recipe by Rachael Ray. This isn't "Indian" food, but I thought the spices would be exotic enough to impress him. I was very nervous about making this recipe, because tumeric is found in yellow curry, and the color reminded of that awful Chicken Curry recipe that my mother made us eat, as kids. That's where my aversion came from...

I love kitchen gadgets, but I have not been able to justify buying a genuine tagine. This isn't authentic tagine, but I think that Rachael Ray has captured a perfect blend of spices that lend this dish a nice Moroccan flavor. I have come to love this recipe... and my husband did propose to me (but not the night I served this) and we've been married for 3 1/2 years.

I had completely forgotten about this Rachael Ray recipe until yesterday...when I thawed the last of the chicken breasts that I buy at Costco. I was tidying up my pantry (that's in my garage, because I do not have a pantry in my kitchen) and I found my stash of dried fruit.

If anything, I can tell you that the spices are so aromatic! I used paprika, tumeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon.

I've been cooking lots of meals-- in my head-- but I have been lacking the energy to make any kind of meals that require a lot of time and energy. I think I overdid my swimming, because my muscles are barking! I was hungry, but I wanted something really fast. Calling Rachael Ray!!

This delicious dinner truly came together in 30 minutes. No lie! Okay, maybe 40 minutes.

The original recipes uses golden raises and prunes. I like to add dried apricots.
Rachael Ray serves this dish with couscous. My husband cannot stand couscous (bummer). Instead, I sauteed some onion toasted some white rice and cooked it with chicken stock and a little bit of saffron...just a pinch.
Cooking this meal came together super fast-- in olive oil I browned the chicken (seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning...and I have to admit that I use this all the time) for about 2 minutes, then added the fruit, onion, the spices and the chicken stock.

At the risk of sounding like Rachael Ray-- wow, this smells so good! Honestly, I was getting pretty hungry by this time.

With a lid on, the dish is cooked for about 8 minutes. That gave me a chance to cut some cilantro, from my herb garden and to slice some scallions as garnish. Rachael calls for chutney as a garnish, but we're not big chutney people.

This is an kitchen gadget that I have really bonded with. It's by OXO and it chops herbs. I find that I get less wear and tear on my good kitchen knives this way-- besides, I'm a gadget freak.

I keep my secret weapon on standby when I do make Rachael Ray dishes... for some reason, her sauces don't thicken up the way she says they should. I make a slurry of water and some corn starch, whisked together on standby.

I add about 1 Tbsp of it at a time, until it thickens to my liking. I prefer my sauces to be a little thick-- but not like wallpaper paste.

I have learned to plate and photograph, before calling my boys to dinner. Once I yelled "dinner!" the men emerged with their noses in the air. Suddenly, they were calling out difference spices, trying to figure out what they were smelling. Still, they seem to know when dinner's ready.

I still haven't learned to fall in love with yellow curry, but I have learned to love this spice blend. I'm going to make extra, for future quick meals. By the way, you can use tofu or lamb if you want-- I am sure that either one of these would be a fantastic substitute.

Forget fancy plating for my boys--my son ate two helpings. There is one serving left. That's for my lunch tomorrow. I call dibbs!

I promised my son I'd bake chocolate chip cookies. I need a second wind. We shall see-- then again, how many laps in the pool will I need to work those off? I can tell you that this dish is actually low in fat?

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T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I am told, under good authority, that a Dutch oven does a much better job than a tagine anyway. While the tagine is pretty, it looses too much heat. The cover of the Dutch oven has a much tighter fit.

Netts Nook said...

Wow I can taste the heat it looks great and with a nice cold beer. Works for me.

Culinary Wannabe said...

Good for you for trying to branch out into the world of Indian cooking. I'm always afraid it will make my apartment smell for days, but I love the flavors. And would you believe that Rachel Ray made an Indian inspired dish that is very similar to this the other day when I went to her show?! It's supposed to be on tv sometime this week, so I'll keep a lookout and point it out to you. Hope you are getting your second wind - I love cookies! :)

Kristen said...

wow, that looks so wonderful!

Pat said...

I know Craig and you better remove that picture quickly (smile). This recipe sounds so delicious... I'll try it.

Maris said...

Aw! What a sweet tribute to the hubby. He's lucky to get all of your delicious cooking :)

Monica H said...

If we all say how cute your hubby is, do you think he'll let you leave it up? :-)

You even cookd it in a RR pot!

You should do a whole post on kitchen gadgets alone...hint hint!

Sophie said...

I really like the sweet and savory ingredients you used, this sounds incredible!

Wyn said...

Sounds yummy, I haven't tried very many Indian dishes. I have eaten the butter chicken and totally felt nauseated, so I am a tad apprehensive about trying others. BTW your hubby looks far too thin to be enjoying your recipes appropriately! LOL. Also, btw, I was redoing something on my site and messed up, again, so you have to re-do the following thingy. Sorry. Guess I better leave it alone for awhile. LOL.

Stacey Snacks said...

I made this same Rachael Ray recipe months back and posted it.
I thought it was excellent!
I have another Morrocan Chicken dish bookmarked from Bon Appetit w/ olives and lemons. I love the spices in this dish, and it was so easy!

Elyse said...

What a cute story!! This one hooked the hubs, huh? I can't wait to try out this recipe. I don't own a real Tagine, but I do love that style of food. The spice blend sounds great. Looks delish!

Anonymous said...

i love it^3^春夏秋冬,民宿,