It’s true. I finally got an instant pot for Christmas and made quick work of it. My first recipe was a cardamom, rose water, and pistachio cheesecake. Then, a lemon and toasted coconut cheesecake (it is the well-known cheesecake #17 with my flavour adjustments). Then, Greek yogurt. I feel like I have quickly mastered some key foods but I really wanted to start making some savoury dishes so I went out and bought some extra silicone rings for my pot that are for savoury only. Th rings tend to hold scent so I did not want my food tasting like other things.
I figured it was about time I used my preserved lemons. I bought them a while ago specifically to make tagine. You probably recognize the unique, tall, cone shaped pot like this one:
This is specially designed to circulate steam from the liquid in the pot and slow cook the ingredients. Plus, it helps that there are plenty of delicious, exotic spices in the mix. Unfortunately, I do not own one but I figured that the magical pot I got for Christmas would do the trick.
To begin, I tried to put myself in a Moroccan state of mind and think about what ingredients would work with the chicken that I was trying to incorporate into my diet. I wanted some salty, sweet, tart. The winning ingredients included:
roasted, marinated artichokes (rinsed and dried)
1/2 diced preserved lemon
8 apricots (soaked for 30 minutes to rehydrate a bit and cut in 1/2)
1/2 small diced large onion
16 green, pitted olives
2 sliced cloves of garlic
12 roasted cherry tomatoes (keep the bit of juice, it adds flavour)
More traditionally, a tagine would be made with lamb or vegetarian with carrots, eggplant, chickpeas, etc, and then served with couscous so the sauce could be soaked up. You can really use what you want. I have seen some tagines with okra, leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, squash, and even peas.
Also, know that my chicken tagine is by no means traditional. Chicken tagines will often have whole pieces of leg or thigh with the bone in. I am just a woman trying to make my chicken more exciting 🙂 I am going solely on my single experience in a Moroccan restaurant in Paris. I was told it was the best and it obviosuly has led me to explore cooking it on my own. You will also notice that I do not include salt in the recipe. This is by choice but you can season as you wish.
Once the main ingredients are prepared, it is time to move on to the spice rack. For this recipe I used a few sprigs of saffron, ginger, black cardamom, chili flakes, and tumeric. If I had some star anise I would throw that into the mix too.
I made this with my instant pot but you can cook up the ingredients in a pan and transfer them to a tagine if you have one but keep in mind that the cooking time will be different.
With the instant pot start in SAUTÉ mode and with a Tbsp of olive oil, sauté the onions until they caramelize a bit. Then add the spices.
Stir in the roasted cherry tomatoes and slices of garlic. Then, add the chicken. I used about 1 pound of chicken cut into large chunks approximately 2-3 inches. One the pieces are seared on all sides, add 1 cup of water with the additional tomato juice if there was any left from your roasted tomatoes or you can add an optional teaspoon of tomato paste to deglaze and build a sauce. Also, stir in a tsp of cornstarch into the cold liquid before adding it. This will give the tagine a more sauce-like texture. Hit CANCEL and get ready to use the pressure cooker mode.
Add the artichokes, olives, preserved lemon, apricots, and olives. Do not stir. Place the lid to seal and cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. Then, allow 5 minutes of natural release of pressure before manually releasing the rest.
You can then stir and serve the chicken on a bed of tasty couscous topped with some fresh cilantro on top. I like to sprinkle with some sumac with is a slightly tart spice that is actually from a dried fruit. It’s a great little seasoning to have on hand for many things.
Apricot Chicken Tagine
1 lbs chicken (cubed)
1/2 small onion (diced)
8 dried apricots (soaked and cut in 1/2)
16 green, pitted olives
6 marinated artichoke pieces (rinsed)
1/2 preserved lemon (diced)
12 roasted cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 C water
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp tumeric
pinch of saffron
1-2 black cardamom pods
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
1. Turn the instant pot to medium SAUTÉ mode.
2. Sauté onions in olive oil.
3. Add spice mix, tomatoes and garlic.
4. Add chicken pieces until the are lightly cooked on all sides.
5. Dissolve cornstarch into water
6. Deglaze the pot with water mixture.
7. Press CANCEL on the instant pot.
8. Layer the remaining ingredients in the pot. Do not stir.
9. Close the pressure cooker and select PRESSURE COOKER.
10. Cook on HIGH for 8 minutes.
11. Allow pot to naturally release for another 5 minutes.
12. Manually release the remaining pressure.
13. Top with fresh cilantro and sumac spice and serve with rice or couscous.
Protein 43.5 g