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Friday, October 23, 2015

Chicken Tajine with Preserved Lemon and Artichoke

Sacrilege!  Am I allowed to call this a tajine when I used chickpeas and quinoa?
Well, this type of cooking is not native to me so I have no issues with rule breaking.  There are certain things I would never permit if this was Indian food .  Certain things were made to be the way they need to be made.  I would never serve pasta with daal.. or beef korma.. nor would I ever put bacon in couscous (ok that's not Indian, but still, I wouldn't do it although I've seen people do it!)  I have no problem using paneer instead of tofu or subbing ground turkey for ground pork in Chinese recipes.  I also don't mind using Korean noodles in a Vietnamese dish.  This dish is the same.  I wanted all the little things separately and perfectly within the same dish.  The cooking method just happens to be called "tajine", which is why I permitted myself to name the dish this way.
Traditionally, a tajine is a slow cooked dish of vegetables and mixed spices with very little liquid that is sopped up with some sort of bread or couscous.  It can be made with meat or fish, but they are not submerged in the cooking liquid.  They are rather steamed or roasted atop the vegetables in a circular pyramidal clay cooking vessel also called a tajine.  They usually do not include any beans such as chickpeas.
I wanted chickpeas and I really don't regret it.. sorry purists.
Serves 4
4 chicken legs
1 cup cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained)
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole black pepper
2 dried red chiles
2 preserved lemons, pulp discarded and rind sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 large onion, sliced into moons
1 green chile, halved (I used a Kabyle chile)
few pinches saffron
1/4 cup water
chopped cilantro
lime wedges
1.  Place the chickpeas at the bottom of the slow cooker along with the cloves, cinnamon stick, cumin, black pepper, dried chiles, and preserved lemon.  Layer on the onion, chicken legs, artichoke hearts, green chile, and saffron.  Pour the water in.  You want the chicken and artichokes to be above the water level so they will "roast" and not soak.
2.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

I served mine with some bulgur and cilantro.
After the hours of cooking, the chicken releases its juices to make a very tasty sauce.  I didn't feel it needed salt, but you might want to add a bit of fleur de sel to your plate.
I put the Kabyle chile on the top so I could easily remove it before serving.  I wanted it to infuse the cooking ambiance but I wanted to have it spice my own plate up and not the entire dish.
I feel I have finally figured out the preserved lemon thing.  You either leave them whole and then remove them after cooking or you'd better remove the pulp.  That pulp is very hard to palate so I was happy to not feel like my dinner was harassing me.
Although.. sometimes I like mealtime harassement...

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