28 July 2015

Tajine de poulet aux pruneaux et aux pois chiches

A tajine is a Moroccan dish that combines meat or vegetables or both with a spice blend that can include cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek, allspice, cayenne pepper, ground coriander seeds, and even curry leaves. Tajine vegetables are good when they are on the sweet side — sweet potatoes, winter squashes, parsnips, or carrots, for example. Another way to bring sweet flavors to the mix is to use dried fruit in the tajine, including prunes, dried apricots, or almonds. The Moroccan spice blend is called ras el hanout, and it's good if you can find it. Here's a recipe for it.

I made a tajine of chicken with prunes and chickpeas in early July. The process was to cut the chicken in half, sprinkle the halves with the Moroccan spice mix and salt and black pepper, and then brown them in a hot oven. Meanwhile sauté some sliced onions and garlic in vegetable or olive oil in a pan on top of the stove until they are translucent. Add a cup or two of chicken broth and two dozen prunes to the pan and let it come to a simmer.

When the chicken is browned but not yet cooked through, pour the flavored broth and prunes into the roasting pan in the oven and let everything continue cooking for 30 minutes or so at 180ºC (350ºF), until the chicken is pretty much done and the prunes are tender. Add a cup or more of cooked chickpeas and let it cook 10 more minutes longer. As a final touch, sprinkle the dish with toasted sesame seeds and garnish it with some fresh coriander (also called cilantro or chinese parsely) leaves, or another herb like basil or parsley. The chickpeas are starchy so you don't need rice, couscous, or potatoes with this kind of tajine.


  1. I really do have to make this some day. Looks so good, and the big photos of it are wonderful. :)

    1. I love chicken, prunes, and chick peas. Not to mention the spices.

  2. " so you don't need rice, couscous, or potatoes"....
    no, just loads and loads of fresh crusty baguette to soak up the flavour...
    and the gravy!

    Thanks for link to the recipe for Russel!
    We use Russel Hainault in an awful lot of things...
    especially Pauline's Pumpkin Soup..
    but a small amount in all sorts of stews, etc....
    especially veal and poultry....
    it works a bit like garlic....
    you don't actually notice it unless you leave it out!

    And I think I'll get those lumps of chook out of the freezer...
    having been cooking vegetarian for the past three weeks...
    a veggie Workawayer being the cause of that...
    Pauline and I are now entering a "frantic flesh feast frenzy" phase!!!
    And as it is a "frantic frenzy"...
    you can guess just how the need for meat is getting to us...
    And I need a break from cheese for a few weeks at least...
    my body is suffering from an over-cheesed error...

    1. You can find ras el hanout spice at the Paris Store in Tours Nord and maybe also at Auchan or LIDL.

    2. We get our Russel from Lidl, Terre'y'Fruits, Intermarché, SuperU and LeClerc...
      depending on which shop we are in when we need some...
      the reason I like the link to the recipe, is making it ourselves looks a good way of turning over the spices and keeping stock fresh.
      Interestingly, the Russel from Terre'y'Fruits and Lidl differs from Intermarché in Descartes, where the manager is Morrocan...

  3. lol It sounds and looks so much more interesting in French !
    I quit eating red meat over 40 years ago but still ate chicken and fish. This past year I quit eating chicken.
    This would tempt me to eat it again ~

  4. I want to try this! Ras El Hanout was an ingredient in a recent episode of Chopped and I wondered what it would taste like. Thank you for this recipe. Now I think I will find out. The combination of ingredients is intriguing.

  5. For people in the US, you can find Ras El Hanout at Cost Plus (World Market). I love to rub it on chicken before grilling.

    1. Thanks for that information, Simon. I think I once went to a Cost Plus store in or just south of Durham. And then there was one on Stevens Creek Blvd. out west too.

  6. For some reason I quit eating chicken but now you have gone and made me want to have this dish ... yummmmm ... perhaps it would be even more tasty if I were There to eat it :)

  7. I think there is a Cost Plus in NJ and I am sure there is one in NY ( everything is in NY :)
    You can order the stuff online too .. which is what I would do .

  8. We have a world market near here. I'll look. I buy their ajvar all the time.

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