Tajines are wonderfully versatile dishes, while we give you the basic recipe here feel free to add any additional spices you particularly enjoy, any of your favourite dried fruits, preserved lemons, hearty vegetables and hard herbs,tomato paste for a richer sauce chickpeas for a heartier dish and even olives for salty pockets of flavour. If you don't have a tajine worry not, while they are beautiful centerpieces they aren't necessary for delicious results in this recipe.
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 1hour 15minutes
Serves 2-3 people
INGREDIENTS 2 chicken legs 1 sweet potato 1 medium carrot 2 medium potatoes 1 small butternut squash 1 small aubergine 1 medium onion 1 stalk of spring garlic 30g raisin
Extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Spice mix 2 tsp smoked paprika 2 tsp cumin, ground 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cayenne/chili Bulgur Wheat 150g bulgur wheat 300ml water 1 stick of cinnamon 3 cardamom pods
EQUIPMENT Chopping board and knife Medium sized pot with lid Aluminum foil Rubber spatula or wooden spoon Vegetable peeler or grater Mixing bowl
1. Begin by preparing all the vegetables. Peel the butternut squash by chopping off the stalk end and the base end and running a knife along the edges to remove the peel. Chop the butternut squash into roughly one-inch cubes. Scrub the sweet potato and potato and optionally peel using a vegetable peeler, cut into 1-inch pieces. Chop the aubergine into 1-inch cubes and season lightly with salt. Peel and thinly slice the onion and thinly slice the spring garlic. Trim any excess skin off the chicken legs and optionally separate the drumstick and thigh by slicing through the knee joint. Place the onions and garlic in one container and the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season the mixing bowl with the vegetables and chicken liberally with the spice mix and plenty of salt and sprinkle in the raisins.
2. Preheat your oven to 160C. Place a medium sized pot over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken to the pot and cook without moving for 3 minutes or until nicely coloured. Turn over the chicken and allow it to colour on the opposite side and remove it once well coloured. Add the onions, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Sweat down the onion and garlic and add the remainder of the vegetables to the pot. Top with the chicken legs and tent the contents of the pot with aluminum, place a lid on the pot if available.
By placing a piece of foil nestled over our ingredients in the pot we are replicating the original tajine cooking vessel without needing to own one of your own. What makes tajines so delicious is the fact that since there is very little room for ingredients to evaporate and the lid is sloped, the juices don’t escape but rather flow down onto the braise to constantly baste your ingredients.
3. Place into the oven on a rack in the centre and allow to cook for an hour and a half. Check after 45 minutes to see how the vegetables are cooking and to see if you need to add a splash of water to the bottom of the pan. We don’t want the tajine to be soupy but we don’t want our onions at the bottom of the pot to burn either.
4.For the bulgur, weigh out the measured amount into a mixing bowl. Bring up 300ml of water or stock to the boil. Massage the bulgur wheat with olive oil, salt and any spices you want to add, otherwise add1 cinnamon stick and a few cardamom pods and top off with boiling water. Prepare a sheet of cling film and immediately cover tightly and allow the bulgur to soak for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes gently fluff the bulgur wheat.
5.Once the tajine is cooked, baste with any juices that fell to the bottom of the pot and garnish with your choice of soft herbs, nuts or additional sliced chili.
If there is a lot of liquid at the bottom of the pot, Strain the liquid into a separate pot and place over high heat with a tablespoon of tomato paste and reduce the liquid until it is a nice sauce consistency.