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Moroccan Chicken Prune Tagine

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Gorgeous decadent Moroccan dish, sweet, nutty and fragrant.

A rich, decadent, sweet Moroccan chicken stew you can prepare easily in any kitchen.

Buy the best chicken you can afford.

Take out your most fearsome cleaver.

Cut the chicken into manageable parts, about 8 parts.

Place the carcass in a pot with a couple vegetables peeled and roughly chopped - here onion, carrot, celery and marjoram. Slowly bring to a boil.

Prepare a large pot and have your chicken at the ready. I prefer to skin chicken before sautéeing, the skin is very fat and not very enticing after an hour of simmering anyway.

Heat a little oil in the large pot and carefully place each piece of chicken in the pot.

Add one finely chopped onion and a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger. Please note that Morrocans use dried ginger because that's all they could traditionally buy.

Season with salt and pepper, add a stick of cinnammon and toss.

Prepare dried raisins and prunes...

... and add them to the chicken.

Deglaze with some of the hot chicken stock from the carcass pot.

Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

Prepare a nonstick pan and shelled almonds.

Sauté the almonds in very little oil until they start turning light brown.

Proceed with a couple tablespoons sesame seeds until they turn fragrant and light brown too.

Saffran. Moroccan cooks add it at the beginning, but the saffron delicate flavor will disappear if you do that. Much better, in my opinion, to add the saffran to the chicken within 5 minutes of completion.

Last stop - remove the prunes one by one from the pot ...

... and roll them in the sesame seeds until coated on all sides.

Serve with couscous and adorn with the sesame coated prunes.



I love Moroccan food! Your chicken makes me drooling.
Wow, another recipe that I can actually make. The only problem is, I can't afford a good chicken these days (a nice free range, local chicken), and I am not going to buy a hormone filled cannibal chicken from Tysons. So I will have a wait a little while before I splurge on this one. It looks delicious though, and I love the presentation of the prunes.
Hi Francois-Xavier - LOVE this tagine, and especially the prunes, so beautiful, yet quick to do.

I've tagged you for a meme - I would really like to know what cookery books you value, as your cooking is always so interesting, and of such high quality

  • #4
  • Comment by ND
Non-stick cookware on FXCuisine.com?! Fascinating pan, though! Your saffron looks very different to mine—mine is kind of long, "gnarly" and stringy… is there a difference?
  • #5
  • Comment by constantins
Could you please tell us what you have done with the carcass and vegetables? It would be pity to chuck it.
  • #6
  • Comment by mcavity
"    * #5
    * Posted by: constantins
    * On: 05/05/2008

Could you please tell us what you have done with the carcass and vegetables? It would be pity to chuck it."

Maybe he fed it to his cat!
  • #7
  • Answered by fx
Zorra, you'll love this tagine, it's really quite simple in fact, it doesn't take much time. You should look into Moroccan baking, they have all sorts of flat breads that are very original and tasty!
  • #8
  • Answered by fx
Lyra you are right that proper chicken can be insanely expensive, perhaps you could do this with a different meat. I am told that quails are very cheap in Mexican grocery stores, otherwise a good rabbit maybe!
  • #9
  • Answered by fx
Joanna, thanks for your kind comments! I have so many cookbooks, definitely not all are made equal and a favorite book list would be worth it. Now for your 'book meme', I suppose I should choose an English-language book, right?
  • #10
  • Answered by fx
Nathan, you are in for more surprises in the non-stick cookware chapter! This is real, high quality saffron threads, meaning the whole stigma, not some orange powder of suspicious origin. It's the only way to buy saffron, otherwise most often you'll be cheated with some concoction made with who knows what. You can use only a few threads, they go a very long way!
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Constantins, the carcass is not prime meat and I discarded it along with the vegetables, but I kept the chicken stock which was used both in the tagine and in later dishes that won't be honored with a blog post! It really is a great way to use a chicken carcass.
  • #12
  • Comment by Rick
I'll be making this dish on Mother's Day for my Mother and my wife. I'll let you know how it turned out!
  • #13
  • Comment by Luciano
another great recipe, FX and it looks quite easy to do, and I will do it next days.
apart the nonstick pan ( but "dove cavolo" can you dig this wondrous things ???)
just a question, the chicken, seems very clearduring the cooking,
you think is better to give it a little brown before the chicken stock, or it must stay
pale? about the zafron, what kind you use?, I always buy it a lot from Navelli, Abruzzo, I think one of the best in the world

  • #14
  • Comment by Sebastian
I was surprised - and a bit disappointed :p - that you weren't using the eponymous cooking ware for your tagine. I mean, cooking a recipe like that in the traditional, gentle, aroma-conserving way with the traditional equipment seems like it'd be just your thing... And surely someone who can get hold of a tandoor wouldn't be challenged by acquiring a modest piece of earthenware? :o It's a mystery... ;)

Nevertheless, your photos are stunning as ever - my mouth is starting to water when I look at them. I think I'll have to get to my maroccan neighbour about trying this one out with a few more friends...
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
Rick, good luck and make sure you get a good chicken! The toasting is key to bringing the sesame seeds and almonds' taste out.
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Luciano, most Moroccans actually fry their nuts in oil, to keep population growth in check I suppose. But to us Westerners whatever fat we can avoid is a good idea, so the non-stick pan comes in handy. I got this one in South India by the way, they use it for flatbreads. For the saffron I wish I could get my hand to the minute quantities produced right here in our Swiss mountains, but for now I get all my saffron from Spain through www.poivre.ch, an online dealer that caters to gastronomic restaurants throughout my country. For the chicken I know some people roast it in the oven before making stock but I didn't. Thanks for visiting!
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
Sebastian, you are very right that such dishes are traditionally cooked in clay 'tagine pots' that look like little volcanoes. I just couldn't get around the weight-britleness conundrum when I came back from Morocco and decided to use whatever space was left in my luggage for the wooden dough bowl (gsââ). And you can definitely cook a tagine in a regular pot. Perhaps that a well-used tagine pot from your mama would carry over some taste from previous dishes, but here it'd be a fight to prevent it from being washed with soap, so I don't think I'd have gained much beyond better looks for my pictures.
  • #18
  • Comment by Malika
You know what?! This is my favorite dish! My mum makes it so well & serves it with homemade "msemem"!
  • #19
  • Comment by Luke
Hey, quick question, FX: what kind of pan is the one you toasted the almonds and sesame in? I don't think I've ever seen something quite like that.

That said, amazing dish as usual. It goes without saying, you really have talent for this.
  • #20
  • Answered by fx
Malika, I am glad my dish stood up to your recollection of your Mum's favorite dish! I am sure hers is better and the msemem must be terrific with this!
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Luke, this is just a small Indian nonstick pan, I got it for a song. Nothing really fancy and you could use many other pans to the same effect, but it is sort of handy for photography!
  • #22
  • Comment by Martin
Here's a slight variation: A Moroccan chef taught me to stew the prunes separately, at least with a lamb and prune tagine (he felt the prunes get too mushy cooked with the meat). He also roughly crushes the almonds and stuffs the prunes with them.

If you use a real ceramic tagine, you usually get a tasty caramelized crust on the bottom. Unfortunately ceramic tagines are a pain to clean and are prone to breaking, which is probably why most Moroccans now use pressure cookers to make tagines.
  • #23
  • Comment by Rick
I made this last night, as a test before I cooked it for my Mother on Mother's day. It turned out very good! While I was at the market buying ingredients, I saw some figs and dates next to the prunes. I thought they would go well with the dish, so I added those to the pot as well. I coated all the fruit in toasted sesame seeds and arranged it on the serving dish for a nice presentation. I don't know if a Moroccan Grandmother would approve of such blasphemy, but I liked it!
  • #24
  • Answered by fx
Martin, did your Moroccan chef use fresh prunes or dried ones? With the dried prunes they hold throughout cooking really well. Great idea to stuff them with broken almonds!
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Rick, you are indeed a thorough home chef and I hope your mother found the dish to your liking! Moroccans use all sorts of fruits in their tagines, and figs and dates are definitely well in line with what's in the Moroccan pantry!
  • #26
  • Comment by Herebus
Another great recipe FX, the end result pretty darn good.  Used some of the chicken stock with the Couscous and grated in some Parmesan.
  • #27
  • Answered by fx
Herebus, I'm glad the recipe worked for you, the chicken stock is great with the couscous, just make sure you don't tell any Moroccan about the Parmesan, they might feel it out-of-synch although I'm sure it tasted fine!
Boy, that looks amazing! I'm making that tonight, can't wait! Thanks for the step by step photos, looks very cool!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Anne, and good luck!

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