Thursday, 23 July 2009

Lovely Layla’s Tuesday Cookery Class Part 2

Tagine with chicken and prunes (for about 12 people). This is cooking of ‘Fortress Filth’ proportions – you may need to divide accordingly.

This week it was tagine with chicken and prunes, served with salad and, of course, bread/hobz(i may turn into some hobz, or a laughing cow, while I'm here I'm eating so much of the stuff). Actually, I think the chicken was a bit more tender this time, perhaps because the chicken was cooked with the skin on. The sweet prune against the peppery, oniony chicken was absolutely lush and the juices were perfect for mopping up with the bread. For a similar bread equivalent back home, I'd say the Turkish pide bread that you can get from your local (or Dalston) TFC is the way forward.

For the tagine:

3 kilos skinless chicken joints skin left on about ½ of them, 2 kilos white onions finely chopped, 1 kilo red onions – finely chopped, 1 bulb garlic – peeled and crushed, 1 tomato – grated/peeled and minced, a small bunch parsley – chopped,1 ½ tablespoons ground black pepper,1 ½ tablespoons ground dried ginger, 1 teaspoon saffron, ½ cup olive oil,1 cup vegetable oil, 1 ½ tablespoons salt, 5 cups water, 4 cups prunes. 7 cups water, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 5 heaped tablespoons sugar, Sesame seeds

For the salad:

5 cucumbers – peeled and chopped into small chunks, 6 tomatoes – peeled and chopped into small chunks, 1 onion – very finely chopped, Handful coriander – finely chopped, 5 tablespoons olive oil, Salt & pepper to taste


We used a large lidded saucepan because of the numbers involved but apparently this tastes even better cooked in a tagine. You could also use a casserole.

Bung ingredients 1-13 into the casserole/pot with the chicken at the bottom, bring to the boil, stirring after 20 minutes. This now needs to be left for about an hour.

Put prunes into a saucepan with the 7 cups of water, bring to the boil and leave for 40 minutes with the lid on. (If you’re using dried apricots, this should only need 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, start preparing the salad. This literally involves chucking the prepared cucumber, tomato and onion into a bowl and chilling in the fridge.

While this is happening, enjoy a cold Fassi beer:

Or have a nice cup of tea and a sit down:

When the prunes are done, drain most of the liquid, leaving behind around 3 tablespoons of liquid.

Put the prunes and reserved liquid back into the saucepan along with the cinnamon, sugar and about half a cup of stock from the tagine over a moderate heat and stir until it comes to the boil.

Then leave it boiling with the lid on for about 10 minutes, leaving to one side once this is done.

To finish the salad, just add the chopped coriander and olive oil and season to taste.

Place the chicken on serving plates and spoon the prunes on top, Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the salad and some hobz.

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