How to Prepare a Flavorful Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds?

March 22, 2024

When you think of Moroccan cuisine, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a hot, aromatic tagine. A staple dish in Moroccan households, a tagine is a slow-cooked stew braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender, flavorful meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. Today, we want to share a recipe for one of the most delicious tagines – one made with chicken, apricots, and almonds.

This recipe will guide you through the process of preparing Moroccan chicken tagine, which combines a variety of spices with tender chicken, sweet apricots, and crunchy almonds. You’ll learn how to expertly blend the spices to create a rich, flavorful sauce that will beautifully coat the chicken and apricots. Lastly, we’ll guide you on how to perfectly cook the accompanying couscous, which is the ideal grain to soak up all of the delicious flavors of the tagine.

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Gathering Your Ingredients

Before you begin to cook, it’s essential to gather all of your ingredients. For this recipe, it’s best to get high-quality chicken, as this will be the main component of your dish. Your spices should be fresh and aromatic – the combination of ground cinnamon, turmeric, and other warm spices will form the backbone of your dish’s flavor.

The addition of apricots adds a sweet contrast to the spices, while the almonds give the dish an unexpected crunch. Apricots are typically used dried in Moroccan cuisine, but fresh apricots can also work, especially when they are in season. As for almonds, opt for ones that are raw and unsalted so that they can absorb all the flavors of the tagine.

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The key to a good tagine is the slow cooking process, which allows the flavors to meld together beautifully. Therefore, you’ll need a tagine pot. If you don’t have one, a slow cooker or Dutch oven will work just fine.

Preparing the Chicken and Apricots

Start by cutting your chicken into pieces and seasoning it well with salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Let the chicken marinate for a few minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

While the chicken is marinating, you can prepare your apricots. If you’re using dried apricots, rehydrate them by soaking in hot water for about 20 minutes. If you’re using fresh apricots, simply wash, pit, and quarter them. Set the apricots aside for later.

Cooking the Tagine

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in your tagine pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and cook until they’re browned on all sides. This process should take about 10 minutes.

Next, add your spices to the pot and stir well to coat the chicken. You’ll want to cook the spices for a few minutes to allow their flavors to develop. After this, add your apricots and a cup of chicken broth, cover the pot, and let the tagine simmer on low heat for about an hour.

Adding the Almonds

While the tagine is cooking, you can prepare the almonds. Toast them lightly in a pan over medium heat, stirring often to prevent them from burning. Once they’re golden brown and fragrant, remove from the heat and set aside.

After the tagine has been simmering for about an hour, add the toasted almonds. Stir well to distribute them throughout the tagine, then cover the pot again and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.

Preparing the Couscous

As the tagine finishes cooking, you can prepare the couscous. Couscous is a staple in Moroccan cuisine and is the perfect grain to soak up the richly flavored sauce of the tagine. Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil, then add the couscous and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the couscous is tender. Drain well and fluff with a fork before serving.

To serve, spoon the couscous onto a platter, then top with the chicken, apricots, and almonds, making sure to include plenty of the sauce. The result is a beautifully fragrant and flavorful dish that’s sure to impress anyone who tries it. Enjoy your Moroccan chicken tagine with apricots and almonds – a true taste of Moroccan cuisine.

Making the Final Touches

Once you’ve completed the cooking process, there are a few additional steps to take to really bring out the flavors of your Moroccan chicken tagine with apricots and almonds.

First, consider adding a cinnamon stick to the pot during the last few minutes of cooking. This will infuse the dish with a warm, spicy flavor, complementing the deep, savory notes of the chicken and the sweetness of the apricots. If you’re using an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker to cook your tagine, be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly to avoid overcooking the chicken or burning the spices.

Next, you’ll want to adjust the seasoning. Moroccan cuisine is known for its balance of flavors, so you may need to add more salt, pepper, or additional spices to achieve the right balance. Use your senses here – taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to suit your preferences.

Finally, right before serving, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the tagine. This will add a rich, smooth texture to the dish, and the olive oil will help to carry the flavors of the spices, creating a more cohesive flavor profile overall.

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, making a Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Almonds is a labor of love, but the end result is a deeply satisfying dish that’s a feast for the senses.

The first bite will transport your taste buds to Morocco, where the combination of sweet and savory flavors is a culinary tradition. The tender chicken thighs, juicy apricots, and crunchy almonds work together harmoniously, creating a dish that’s both hearty and light. The addition of a cinnamon stick and a twist of preserved lemon adds a layer of complexity to the dish, making it a true standout.

This tagine recipe is a testament to the beauty of Moroccan cuisine, where simple ingredients are transformed into a symphony of flavors through skillful cooking and thoughtful seasoning. So take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t forget to share your delightful creation with loved ones. After all, a tagine is best enjoyed in good company.

So, whether you’re new to Moroccan cuisine, or a seasoned cook looking for a new dish to master, this Moroccan chicken tagine with apricots and almonds is sure to impress. With its rich flavors, enticing aromas, and beautiful presentation, it’s a true culinary gem that’s worth the effort.