Chicken Tagine With Dried Cherries And Almonds

First of all, I have to apologize for my delinquency recently when it comes to this blog. In my defense, I went to Las Vegas three times in 6 weeks (during one of these trips I tried RM Seafood and bought Rick Moonen's cookbook, Fish Without A Doubt), we've been in the process of buying a house, and I'm about to leave again for a long trip spanning Portugal and Scotland! Wow, most insane Spring ever!

Anyhow, in the midst of all this, Tucker has created some amazing food, I've tried some pretty good restaurants, and our farm share started up (hurray for veggies!). I have a big backlog of recipes I want to blog, and first up is this FANTASTIC chicken tagine. I've always liked chicken tagine, but this one blows all the other ones out of the water. We served it with red quinoa (actually, it tastes the same as regular quinoa, but it is prettier).

Chicken Tagine With Dried Cherries And Almonds
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1/4 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 strips lemon zest (each about 2 inches by 3/4 inch)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , from 1 to 2 lemons
5 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks; wings reserved for another use) and trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion , halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
1 medium carrot , peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins (about 1 cup)
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  1. Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Zest the lemon; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside.
  2. Season both sides of chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy--bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.
  3. Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned at edges but still retain shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon water if pan gets too dark). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and very fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add thighs and drumsticks, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add carrots, cherries, and breast pieces (with any accumulated juices) to pot, arranging breast pieces in single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer chicken to plate or bowl and tent with foil. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice; stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with almonds and serve immediately over quinoa.


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