Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine

Moroccan food is amazing, and healthy to boot. I had a proper tagine pot (authentic clay pot with a cone shaped lid), for all of 3 weeks before breaking it. The good thing is that you can make in any pot or dish with a well fitting lid. I cooked my tagine on the stove top, but can bake it in the oven if you prefer.

Tagines are slow cooked stews, and can be made with a variety of meat, and vegetables. Authentic tagines often use dried fruit such as prunes or apricots to add sweetness to balance out the heat of the harissa. I didn’t have any dried fruit, but this is still delicious. This is pretty hot, if you can’t handle alot of spice use less harissa or do what it did and add a dollop of yoghurt to cool things down.

Serves 4

8 Small Chicken thighs

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Large carrot

1 Large onion

1 Large courgette

1 Red pepper

1 Tsp Ground cumin

2 Cloves of garlic (minced)

1-2 Tbsps Preserved lemons (I made these myself, but you can also buy them from most supermarkets

1 Tbsp Harissa Paste (Again I made this myself, but you can buy this in supermarkets)

500ml Chicken stock (I used a stock cube)

400gm Can of chickpeas

1Tsp Salt

Method

  1. In a large pan with a lid, add the olive oil, and when hot add the chicken thighs and seal
  2. Cut the vegetables into chunks (I like this quite rustic)
  3. Add the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes
  4. Chop the preserved lemons finely and add to the pan along with the other ingredients and stir
  5. Put the lid on to the pot and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 45 minutes
  6. Serve with cous cous and a dollop of yoghurt

Mediterranean Chicken Traybake

If you like quick easy mid week dinners then check this out. An easy delicious dish that’s is good enough to crack out for company.

This can be made in advance and reheated if you fancy some weekend cooking. I usually serve with rice or crusty bread to soak up all the yummy juices this cooks in. It’s colourful, tasty and smells fantastic,

Mediterranean Chicken Traybake

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Large chicken thighs ( I used ones that still had the bone in, and left the skin on. But you can use the boneless skinless ones if you prefer)

100 Grams Green beans (I use frozen ones that I have defrosted)

100 Grams button mushrooms (halved)

1 Red pepper (Cut into chunks)

1 Yellow pepper (Cut into chunks)

1 Red onion (cut into quarters)

12 Black olives, (optional)

8 Cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tsp Smoked paprika

1 Tbsp White wine vinegar

2 Cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a baking dish, mix the olive oil and smoked paprika and put into an oven that has been preheated to 200 degrees, for 5 minutes
  2. Add the vegetables and garlic to the dish and coat with the oil and paprika mix, and bake for 10 minutes
  3. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper
  4. Remove the vegetables from the oven add the white wine vinegar and stir, set the chicken thighs on top and bake for a further 25 minutes
  5. Remove from the oven and check that chicken is fully cooked, serve when ready.

Baked Onions

This was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, but mine are slightly different because I made with what I had in the fridge. You can make these as a starter or lunch dish, they also make a nice side dish with a larger meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Onions (about the size of a tennis ball)

4 Slices of prosciutto (you could also use streaky bacon, or Parma ham

2 Tbsp Double Cream

1Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp Parmesan

Salt & Pepper

Ingredients

  1. Peel the onions and put in a pot of water just coming to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool
  2. Cut the top of the onion and hollow about an inch of the centre of the onion and set to one
  3. Trim the bottom to make sure the onion can sit upright in a baking tray
  4. Chop the centre of the onion you removed, fry in the butter until it has started to colour, add the cream and salt and pepper then reduce the cream is no longer runny
  5. Wrap the hollowed out onion with a slice of prosciutto. You can use the woody part of a stalk of rosemary for more flavour if you have it. A cocktail stick works just as well at holding the prosciutto in place
  6. Divide the fried onions between the hollowed out onions, and top with the bread crumbs and parmesan.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, until the topping is golden and crunchy

Lamb Koftas with Grilled Nectarines and Tahini Dressing

Some people get weird about combining sweet and savoury, but give this a chance, it really works. Grilling nectarines/peaches amplifies the flavour and along with tender juicy lamb they’re just perfect. The tahini dressing brings the whole thing together. I like to serve it with some bulgar wheat and salad, but it’s also delicious wrapped in a flatbread for lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Nectarines (cut into quarters)

For the kofta

400 Grams Minced Lamb

1 Egg

1 Tsp Dried mint

1 Tsp Salt

For the Dressing

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tbsp Tahini

1 Tbsp Cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Mix the lamb, mint, egg, and salt together with your hands. Form into torpedo ships about 6cm long. Put on a plate or tray and chill for 30 minutes
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, and then bake for 20 minutes
  3. Preheat a grill pan and add the nectarines. Cook for 2 minutes on each side or until char marks appear
  4. Mix olive oil, tahini, and vinegar together and season to taste
  5. When the lamb is cooked, plate up with the nectarines and drizzle with the dressing.

Rice Crispy Chicken

I had heard about this from a friend and was a bit dubious, but OMG, this tastes so good. I used strips of chicken, but you can use whole chicken breasts or make chicken nuggets. If you have little mouths to feed, these are so easy to make that kids can help. For those who eat a gluten free diet and miss fried chicken,this is a great alternative. Personally I love them with salad and a cold beer.

Serves 4

Ingredients

400 Grams Chicken Breasts

100 Grams Rice Crispies

3 Tbsp Mayonnaise

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Salt

Method

  1. Slice the chicken into the desired size. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and grease a baking tray
  2. Put the mayonnaise, smoked paprika, and salt into a bowl and mix
  3. In a separate bowl add the rice crispies, and then crunch the cereal with your hands (this is surprisingly satisfying)
  4. Coat the chicken in the mayonnaise mix, and then coat with the crunched up cereal
  5. Place on the baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes, turning half way through

Pesto and Bacon Bagels

If like me you occasionally over indulge at the weekend this the breakfast for you. It also makes a really tasty brunch or lunch dish.

I feel like a bit of a fraud as this probably isn’t a real recipe. It’s just assembling things, which is what makes it perfect.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Bagels

8 Slices of bacon

4 Tbsp Green pesto

4 Tbsp Cream cheese

Method

  • Fry the bacon until crispy.
  • Toast the bagels
  • Spread one tablespoon of pesto on one half of the bagel, and spread the other half with one tablespoon of cream cheese
  • Top with 2 slices of crispy bacon, join the 2 halves and stuff your face

Butternut Squash and Pea Curry

This is an easy, healthy curry that even the most ardent meat lovers can enjoy.

Don’t be put off, if it seems that there are a lot of ingredients.  I know I prattle on about how good Asian supermarkets are, but you can build up a good stock of cheap spices that will help change how you cook.

Ingredients

500gms Butternut Squash (peeled, deseeded, and diced)

200gms Frozen Peas

150gms Red Lentils

1 Large onion (chopped)

2 Tbsp Coconut or other oil

1 Red chilli pepper

4 Cloves of garlic

1 Tsp Fennel seeds

1 Thumb sized piece of ginger

2 Tsp Garam Masala

2 Cardamom pods

500ml Vegetable stock

2 Tbsp Chopped coriander

Serves 4

Method

  1. Add the fennel seeds and cardamom pods to a dry pan and toast until you can spell the spices.
  2. Add the coconut oil and once heated add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The onions should be cooked gently until they caramelise and turn brown.  Taking the time to do this might seem like a bit of a faff, but it does help improve the depth of flavour
  3. Add the butternut squash (which has been diced in 1.5cm cubes), and continue to cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes
  4. Grate the ginger and add to the pan along with finely chopped chilli, garam masala, red lentils, and vegetable stock, cook for a further 10 minutes
  5. Add finely chopped garlic to the pan, along with frozen peas, and cook 5 more minutes
  6. Check that the butternut squash is tender, and check the seasoning and adjust to your taste. (I usually go easy when adding chilli, as it’s always easier to add more, but if you like a super hot then go nuts)
  7. Serve with basmati rice or naan bread (or both if you’re a total carb junkie like me).  This curry reheats really well, and will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days

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