It was a rainy cold Saturday in Paris, and a few friends and I decided to treat ourselves to some delicious French food. We went to this restaurant, La Jacobine in the Latin Quarter, which was an absolute delight. From the ambience, to the recipes. I find that in general, the Latin Quarter is such a lovely area to walk around, with a French restaurant in every corner.
We started off with some delicious merlot, and caught up on life. Afterwards, we ordered different plates, family style, and the night was filled with sarcasm, laughter and delicious food. I particularly loved the Tajine de Poulet, and I left knowing I had to try making it at some point.
The following day, I decided to recreate the recipe at home,. Since I do not own a tajine, I ended up using a regular saucepan. I also tweaked the recipe a little, as i lacked some of the original ingredients. It came out deliciously well (not to toot my own horn :D) and I’ve literally made it every other weekend since then.
I thought I’d share it on here in case any of you would like to try it out as well. :)
You will need:
6 drumstick pieces of chicken
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 onions slices
2 garlic cloves crushed (or two table spoons of minced garlic)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 cubes of maggi or knorr
1 teaspoon of canyenne pepper
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
A bag of diced carrots
1 tablespoon saffron water (large pinch of saffron + 1/4 cup water)
Caramelised dates/prunes (cooked separately):
10.5 oz (300 grams) dates
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup sauce from the chicken stock
Preparing the ingredients
First, soak the saffron threads in some warm water for 10 minutes.
Grate the garlic cloves if you’re not using minced garlic. Or chop the garlic cloves if you don’t have a grater.
Cut the onions in half and grate them using the large holes of the grater (or chop them if you don’t have a grater). Chop the leftover onion pieces.
Cooking the Chicken
On low heat, in a large pot, drizzle the olive oil.
Add the onions, garlic, and ground ginger.
Add the chicken pieces to the pot, and mix them all together.
Add the turmeric, pepper, salt, cinnamon, and four cubes of maggi or knor cubes. (all of these ingredients can be play around with, to taste :) ). Pour in the saffron water, and mix, mix, mix.
Add some water to almost cover the chicken, and let it cook for a few minutes, until it’s done. You know it’s done when it is nice and soft. Let it cook on low heat, it should take around 20 - 30 minutes. Add the diced carrots 15 minutes in (so, when the chicken is almost ready).
Preparing the Prunes
While the chicken is cooking, soak the dates in boiling water for around 15 minutes to soften them.
In a separate saucepan, on medium heat, melt the butter.
Add one cup of the chicken stock to the butter
Drain the dates, and place them in the saucepan. Cover and cook around 10 minutes or until the dates become soft.
Once the dates are tender, add the honey and the ground cinnamon. Mix in the dates, cover the saucepan, set the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
When the dates are ready, they’ll sit on a thick syrup sauce and are very soft.
Check on the chicken tajine from time to time, and just stir the chicken, adding some water (not too much) if necessary. At the end, the chicken is soft, and the sauce is thick. I sometimes add a mix of flour and warm water (mix them first) to the tajine sauce if I want it to be thicker, but this is completely optional.
Add in the caramelised dates (you could also serve them on the side, but I prefer them all mixed up, mmm :D).
Fry your almonds with little olive oil, until they’re quite brown.
Serve the tajine over some rice or fried rice or crusty bread or noodles or couscous, add a handful of fried almonds and then finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I had some with some white rice.
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