Cheats Chicken Tagine and my Moroccan Cous Cous

Yeah it's as good as it sounds! This is such an easy dish and really makes your eyes roll back in your head as you savour every last bite. These Moroccans know how to live, and I think this dish that I made up would do them proud..

I don't own an actual Tagine unfortunately. The one I want is a few hundred dollars and after forking out a kidney for my amazing wedding recently (as well as having to be a grown up and pay silly things like car loans and mortgages) I can't really justify spending the money. But never mind, I just use the same style recipe as a standard Tagine (with my own sneaky additions) and just cook it in a stoneware or oven-proof ceramic baking dish.

The cous cous was also of my own invention, although I'm sure the combination of dates and pine nuts isn't original they go really well with this Tagine.

You will need...
For the chicken;
6 Chicken thighs, de-boned, skinned and trimmed
1 brown onion
1 carrot
1 celery stick
1 clove garlic
2 tins chopped peeled Italian tomatoes
350ml chicken stock
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 fresh coriander root, rinsed well
squeeze fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tin chickpeas
salt and pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius. Dice your onion, celery and carrot into 5mm squares and crush garlic. Sweat off in a heavy-based saucepan in 1 Tbs olive oil and all the spices. Transfer into a bowl.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and seal in a pan using the rest of the olive oil. Add the tinned tomatoes, stock, vegetables/spices and coriander root and bring to the boil. Transfer to a ceramic or stoneware baking dish (or a Tagine if you own one), cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
3. Add the drained chickpeas and leave to cook for another 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened.

For the Cous Cous;
2 cups cous cous (I used San Remo)
2 cups boiling chicken stock
small handful of pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup corn kernels (fresh, tinned, frozen doesn't matter as long as they're cooked)
3 Tbs chopped preserved lemon**
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/2 bunch fresh coriander or parsley if your not a huge fan of coriander
Cracked pepper and salt

1. Pour boiling stock over the cous cous in a bowl. Cover and leave for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff up the cous cous.
2. Toast the pine nuts in a fry pan or under the grill until they're golden brown, then add to the cous cous with the chopped dates, preserved lemon, pumpkin, salt and cracked pepper.
3. Chop the coriander and mix through at the end.

** Preserved lemon...
1. Slice lemon into 1/2 cm thick rounds. Discard seeds.
2. Put in a saucepan on a high heat and cover with boiling water from the kettle for 15 seconds. Drain and place in ice water. Repeat the process two more times.
3. Bring 1 part water 1 part vinegar (white wine is best), half the amount of sugar and a good pinch of salt (Eg. 500ml water, 500ml vinegar, 250gr sugar, 10gr salt) to the boil- you need enough to cover the lemons completely. Pour hot over your lemons and allow to cool to room temperature before putting in the fridge, covered. Will last for AGES! Do this the day before if you can.


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