Moroccan chicken and prune tagine

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient
4 ounces Prunes
4 ounces Dried apricots
½ cup Toasted split almonds
3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
8 Portions chicken
1 teaspoon Salt
20 Grinds black pepper
1 large Onion
2 Cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Ground turmeric
3 Cardamom pods
1 teaspoon Ground ginger
2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
2½ cup Chicken stock (or half stock, half white wine)
1 tablespoon Honey
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
2 teaspoons Lemon juice or water

Several hours in advance or overnight, soak the dried fruit in water to cover. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the almonds in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden brown, then drain on paper towels and reserve. remove the skin and any visible fat from the chicken portions, thoroughly dry them, then season with the salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until rich brown on all sides, then lift out and drain on paper towels to remove any surplus fat. Lay the pieces side by side in a lidded casserole and surround with the drained fruit. In the same oil gently saute the finely chopped onion and garlic until they turn a rich golden brown (keep the pan lid on for 5 minutes to soften them in the steam, then remove it to finish the browning). Add the spices and stock and honey. Stir well to release any crispy bits adhering to the base of the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with the lemon juice (or water, if wine has been used).

Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook as the chicken will soften during the reheating. Garnish the dish with the fried almonds.

Note: Any dish containing a black food - be it prunes or olives - is never served on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah in Moroccan Jewish households for fear it would dim the lightness and brightness of the first day of the festival.

But on the second night a tagine made with either chicken or lamb is eaten, because of the sweet ingredients - the dried fruit and honey it contains. A similar dish, Poyo kon Prounes, is also to be found in the Graeco-Jewish cuisine.

Recipe by: The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook Posted to JEWISH-FOOD digest V97 #106 by Nancy Berry <nlberry@...> on Mar 28, 1997

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