Amazing Boulud’s Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine2“I have real admiration for chefs who can maintain an edge and find new inspiration in their cooking after many years.”
Daniel Boulud

What a fabulous dish that will push me towards The Spice House order form for some fresh spices, I’m sure that the aromatic impact will be better if that is possible with newer spices in the spice rack.  I prepped all of the ingredients and cooked this dish ahead of time up to the first twenty minutes and finishing up the last twenty or so minutes before serving time just remember to preheat the oven and allow for 10 or so additional minutes beyond the final 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  There is a lot of spice mix so I’ll keep the blend in small mason jars to use in other similar recipes and a note here to say that I did add more spice to the sauce than called for at least 1 more tablespoon and up to 2 tablespoons, but of course taste first after the first cooking time.  Gather all of the necessary ingredients,  I like to season the chicken and refrigerate for a few hours, but not necessary.  I cooked 4 chicken thighs, 1/2 head of cauliflower, and 3 tomatoes, but made the full recipe of sauce because someone around here likes a lot of sauce.

There are several recipes for preserved lemons online and one quick version is what I made, Mark Bittman’s minimalist recipe link below or try one of the others that you find and you’ll be using them in other dishes.  Wonderful condiment!  What a fantastic company dish served with a side dish or herb super grains and a simple arugula endive salad with honey pine nuts and Roquefort cheese…

Tajine spices 2Chicken Tagine slightly adapted from Daniel Boulud
3 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ginger powder
½ tablespoon ground cardamom
2 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
Tajine Chicken

8 chicken thighs, approximately 3 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons spice mix
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Roma tomatoes
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 pinch saffron
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium
3 tablespoons preserved lemons, approximately 2 lemons, roughly chopped
1 cup green olives, like Castelvetranos
*optional 1/4 cup golden raisins
*optional 1/4 cup cashews rough chopped for garnish
½ bunch cilantro, leaves picked and stems discarded.

Combine the spices in a dry sauté pan set over low heat, and toast them gently until they release their fragrance, 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat, when cool add to spice jars or containers.
Preheat oven to 350º. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, along with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, and set a large bowl of ice water to the side. Core the tomatoes, and score an X on their bottoms. Boil the cauliflower florets in the water for 3 minutes, then submerge them in the ice water. Boil the tomatoes for 20 seconds, and chill them in the ice water as well. Remove the cauliflower when it is cold, and pat the florets dry. Peel the skin off the tomatoes, then cut them into quarters lengthwise and remove seeds

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium heat, and sear the chicken in batches, starting skin-side down, until the thighs are browned. Remove the chicken to a large Dutch oven or tagine pot. Remove all but two tablespoons of the fat in pan, then return it to the heat, and brown the cauliflower and add to the chicken.
Reduce heat below the pan, and add the onion, garlic, ginger and saffron. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and chicken stock, and simmer until reduced by one-third.  Add raisins if using.

Pour sauce over the chicken and cauliflower, cover the pot and transfer to oven for 20 minutes. Remove, stir in the tomatoes, preserved lemon and olives, cover the pot again and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken in the pot, garnished with the cilantro leaves, with couscous. Reserve remaining spice mix for the next batch or another use. It keeps well in a sealed container.