Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chicken Tagine with Lemon-Scented Herbed Couscous

Bringing the taste of Morocco home is made easier with the help of Mina Tagine Moroccan Cooking sauces. 


There is something really comforting to me about the smell of chicken roasting. It brings back memories of an easier time when all you needed to worry about was which sneakers to wear to school and whose backyard you were going to play in this weekend. Roasting a chicken at home instead of picking up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket really isn't difficult and gives you complete control over your ingredients. And here at 'Confessions,' we're all about knowing what's going into your food and making sure it's real ingredients and not overly filled with sodium and chemical preservatives.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try a trio of new sauces from the folks over at Mina.


You might remember that I introduced you to Mina a few years back when I discovered their line of harissa which I still use in my cooking today. It's a quick way to add a burst of flavor to nearly any dish. So of course I jumped at the chance to try their new line of tagine sauces. The line includes special blends for chicken, beef or lamb, and fish. Today, I'm sharing with you how ridiculously easy it is to get the flavors of Morocco at home with delicious, succulent chicken stewed in the chicken cooking sauce. 


Here are the ingredients: One whole chicken, an onion, some green olives, a few sprigs of cilantro and a jar of Mina Tagine Moroccan Chicken Cooking Sauce. That's it. And I gotta say, even though I've made tagine from scratch, this cooking sauce is so ridiculously delicious, I don't know that I'll go through the trouble of measuring out all the various spices needed to do it from scratch again. 

What's in the sauces you ask? Here's the entire ingredient list: water,  extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and saffron. That's it. Just clean, good for you ingredients. 


You might have noticed this beautiful blue lid in my photographs and wondered what the heck is that? So the word "tagine" refers to both a cooking vessel AND the dish typically cooked in one. The tight-fitting conical lid aids in keeping the meat moist while cooking. The first time I cooked with the Mina tagine sauce, I used a Dutch oven and the results where just as tasty, the meat just as succulent. But when I saw this gorgeous tagine on sale while out and about a few weeks back, I simply couldn't help myself. There are several Mexican stews that I'm also itching to try cooking in it perhaps even one of those Dutch oven bread recipes. (Why, yes! That is my inner voice trying to justify purchasing this new kitchen toy. Shush!)


My point is, you don't need to rush out and buy a tagine to use these sauces or cook these dishes. In fact, next month, I'll be sharing my experiment with Mina Tagine for beef or lamb and I'll be making it in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. However a Dutch oven, a slow cooker or even an InstaPot can be used. Don't let the cooking vessel, or lack there of, keep you from trying these sauces. They're too easy and the meals that come from them too tasty to not rotate them into your monthly or even weekly cooking routine.

Chicken Tagine with Lemon-Scented Herbed Couscous
Save a little money and buy a whole chicken and break it down yourself. Don't know how? Follow Melissa Clark's easy video how-to. The added benefit is that you'll be left with the backbone to use for making the stock for the couscous. Don't want to make the stock? Use your favorite low-sodium stock instead. Don't want to make the couscous, skip it and use crusty bread to sop up the sauce. For the olives, I used Castelvetrano because I like the slightly sweet, buttery flavor which I think balances the spices in this dish but use whichever green olive you prefer. 

Serves 4

For the tagine: 

1 (4-5lb) whole chicken (organic if your pocketbook can afford)
1 medium onion
1 jar Mina Tagine Moroccan Chicken Cooking Sauce
12 pitted large green olives

For the couscous stock:

1 chicken backbone
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ onion
1 stalk celery, quartered
1 large carrot, quartered
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper corns
1 whole dried bay leaf

For the couscous:

1 cup prepared stock
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
⅔ cup couscous
1 tablespoon minced mint
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

3-4 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves rough chopped or torn, for garnish

Place an oven rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the chicken: Cut the chicken up into eight pieces, saving the backbone for the couscous stock. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Finely dice or grate the onion. Line the bottom of you tagine, dutch oven or skillet with the diced onion then arrange the chicken on top of it. Shake the jar of tagine sauce well, then evenly pour the sauce over the chicken. If using a tagine, place the tagine on a rimmed baking sheet to make it easier to take in and out of the oven. Cover the tagine with its conical lid and roast for 1 hour, checking the tagine halfway through the cooking time to see if the cooking liquid has evaporated too much. If it's looking a little dry, carefully add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water, careful to avoid washing any of the sauce off of the chicken, and continue cooking. After 1 hour, remove the lid, add the olives and roast for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is roasting, make the stock for the couscous. Place all the ingredients for the stock in a large pot. Fill the pot with 2 -3 quarts of water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook while chicken is roasting.

When chicken is ready, remove from oven. cover with lid and make the couscous: Strain the stock. Add 1 cup of stock to a small pot. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest; cover and bring to a boil. Add the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Allow the couscous to steam and soak up the broth for at least 15 minutes. Remove lid, carefully fluff with a fork. Stir in the herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Divide the couscous between four plates. Divide the chicken, placing it on top of the couscous, spooning sauce and olives onto each plate. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

This post was created in partnership with Mina and Casablanca Foods. All opinions, recipes and photography are my own. Find Mina on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

2 comments:

  1. Hooray! What a lovely recipe (and tagine!). Can't wait to give it ago. And thanks for sharing the video on breaking down a chicken - it's been my "white whale". Cheers!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Heidi! Thank you! This is surprisingly easy and so tasty! Hope you do give it a whirl! Xo

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