As a child, I used to spend most of my Christmas holidays in Morrocco where my maternal grend-parents used to live. So Christmas is not necessarily associated for me with snow or Fir trees but more often with donkey rides in the garden, fish for supper and an exotic, tenderly arranged nativity scene or crèche in the ‘salon’ where my parents and grand-parents would take us to on Christmas morning. Tagines were served to us as a warming winter dish and they are the perfect antidote to cold and dark winter evenings. With warming spices to suffuse the soul and limbs, they also represent the easy option of a perfect one-pot no-fuss meal.
Chicken lemon in tagine dish – Serves 2 to 3
For the marinade:
- 1 frozen chopped chilli cube or two pea-size drops of Harissa paste
- 200 ml water
- 70 ml olive oil
- Ras el hanout or M’rouzia mix, 1 Tbsp
- Cumin 1 Tbsp
- Ground Coriander 1 tsp
- Pinch of safran
- Fresh coriander
- Fresh parsley
For the stew:
- Cubed skinless chicken breast with wing bone (2/3 breasts) or oyster thighs -ask a good butcher!
- 1 large red onion cubed
- 2 / 3 lemons in brine quartered
- Zest of half a fresh lemon
- 2 big handful of garden peas, fresh or frozen
Note that a few quartered potatoes can be included as an option, as in the image above – I tend to give those a miss if I am trying to recover from excessive festive indulgence… Check the water if you have added potatoes and add if necessary towards the end.
Lay all the meat and put the vegetables in the dish, then mix the marinade in a small jug and pour on top of the dish. Cover and cook on medium to low heat for 45 min. Do not open the dish too often, if ever. Chuck the peas towards the end. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.