08 May 2012

Tagine in a Tagine!

We picked up a clay pot tagine on our recent travels to Morocco, and I couldn't wait to use it. Tagine refers to both the cooking pot (featured below) and the stew cooked in it. It is a North African speciality. Last night, I made a Chicken Tagine with Olives & Preserved Lemon.

Serves 2
· Chicken thighs - 2 - I used boneless meat because that's what I had at home. The version I had in Morocco was made with bone-in dark meat - tasted better for sure!
· Shallots/ Red Onions - 2 cups - thinly sliced
· Garlic - 2 tsp - finely minced
· Bay leaf - dry - 1
· Cinnamon stick - 1
· Olives - 1/2 cup - I used a combination of Kalamata (Greek Black Olives) and Manzanilla (Spanish Green Olives)
· Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans from a can - 1/2 cup washed
· Bell Peppers - Tri colored frozen from Trader Joes - 1/2 cup
· Harissa - 2 tbs - I used a brand called Korba (Tunisian) which is available locally in Fresh Farms. Spice levels differ by brand, so taste first before using!
· Preserved Lemon - 1/4th thinly sliced. I smuggled my preserved lemons in from Morocco, but have a batch of lemons ready to preserve using the technique in the link. Traditionally, you use only the rind discarding the pulp and any seeds. I used the rind & the pulp.
· Chicken Stock - 2 cups
· Salt to taste
· EVOO - 1 tbs 
Line the bottom & the sides of the tagine with EVOO (I had to cure my tagine before first use).
Add all the ingredients together, and mix well. Ensure that the chicken has been coated very well with the ingredients (especially the harissa).
Cook in the oven at 350F for about 2 hours.
Serve hot with Couscous and enjoy the unbelievably moist chicken, and the explosion of flavors in your mouth!
  • You can make this dish in a covered oven safe dish or in a slow cooker too
  • Although I didn't feel the need for additional spices, you can add cumin/coriander powder to this dish.
  • Also, I have seen recipes where the chicken is marinated in garlic, oil and harissa. I didn't have the time/patience to marinate.
  • Substitute for Preserved Lemon - If you don't have preserved lemons readily available, you can quickly make an acceptable substitute by thinly slicing a fresh lemon and sautéing it slowly in olive oil, a little sugar and salt until very tender. Chop into small pieces and use the same as preserved lemons. If you are interested in making Moroccan food often, I would highly recommend making a batch though.They keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

01 May 2012

Very Green Broccoli Soup - A Michael Chiarello Recipe

This is not just another soup - This is THE best broccoli soup you'll ever have! :)

I adjusted the original Michael Chiarello recipe to suit my taste. I love that it's green, healthy and delicious!
·         Broccoli – 1 pound
·         EVOO – a couple of tablespoons
·         Fresh Garlic – minced – 2 tbsp
·         Onion – diced – 1 cup
·         Freshly ground black pepper – 2 tsp
·         Fresh thyme leaves - finely chopped - 2 tsp
·         Fresh spinach – 2 cups packed
·         Chicken stock/broth (low sodium) – 4 cups
·         Freshly grated lemon zest – 2 tbs
Cut the broccoli florets from the stems. Cut the stems lengthwise into slices.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot until hot. Add the garlic and onion, and stir until light brown - about 5 minutes
Add the thyme and stir. Add the broccoli stems, stock, and salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook uncovered until tender, about 10 minutes
Now add the broccoli florets and continue to cook until very tender, about 5 minutes more.
Turn off the heat, add the spinach, and let wilt.
Add lemon zest, and puree the soup in a blender in small batches.
The soup can be made to this point, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. I have some frozen to use on days I don't feel like cooking!
Return the soup to the pan and reheat over gentle heat. Stir in the cream if needed (I did not). Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve warm. Enjoy!
Note - The fresh lemon zest is a wonderful flavor surprise...don't leave it out!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Ina Garten Recipe

I love Brussels Sprouts, especially when roasted because roasting imparts a certain sweetness and a crunch to them. Here's a simple Ina Garten recipe.
Ingredients -
  • Brussels sprouts -1 pound
  • EVOO - a coupleof tablespoons
  • Kosher/Sea salt - to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Granulated Garlic - 1 tsp (optional - this is my addition)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper & garlic.

Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

Serve hot.