Last Sunday we all had slightly sore heads from a bit too much ‘vino tinto’ on Saturday night ;-)….so we needed a nice comforting dinner. My Aunt has a cook book by Ghillie Basan, called ‘Tagines & Couscous’ and it has some great recipes in. I decided to try one out, but as usual I changed it, added a few things, and made the dish with Chicken rather than Duck……it was really tasty. We all ate too much of it as it was so delicious. The sweet caramelised pears in this dish were such a great idea and really brought the dish together, I love sweet and spicy together <3. However I needed to lay down after this meal; hangover and overeating never a good combination ha ha!!
The Couscous was made once again using the vegetables from the garden, Beetroot turned the grains pink 🙂 please take a look….
1 Whole Free Range Chicken
2 Red Onions
3 Rosemary Sprigs (plus extra for decoration)
2″ Chunk Ginger
1 Red Chilli
2 Cinnamon Sticks (I used one large)
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
Fresh Nutmeg Grated (Approx half a chunk)
2 1/2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Tbsp Runny Honey
3 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
1 Pint Chicken Stock ( I made this from the chicken, you’ll need 1 stick celery, 1/2 white onion, a bay leaf, salt/pepper and 2 pints of water)
Mix of vegetables, I used Beetroot, radish, Aubergine, round Courgette.
2 sprigs Rosemary
2 Cloves garlic
Couscous approx half a box
1 pint Stock
Knob of Butter
Squeeze of Lemon juice
First you need to skin and then chop the chicken (you can get your butcher to do this) Chop the legs, thighs and wings off and then the breasts. Chop the breast into chunks and set this meat aside for later. Place the carcass and skin in a pan to make a quick stock. (You can just use a stock cube but I prefer this way).
I also added to this stock a celery stick, bay leaf and half an onion then poured in 2 pints of water and salt & pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes.
While this is simmering, prepare your tagine.
Take one onion and slice it, heat oil and a knob of butter in a large deep pan and cook the onions slices until browned.
Dice the other onion. In a blitzer add the garlic, chilli, leaves of 1 rosemary spring and ginger and blitz…
Then add in your diced onion and blitz again to create a paste.
Now add this paste to the sliced onions in the pan and cook on medium-high for another 5 minutes.
Next add in the cinnamon sticks and saffron.
Now add in your chicken, coat well with the onion mix and let the chicken brown.
While this is browning remove the stock from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Discard the carcass, celery and onion.
Once all of the chicken is white your ready to add a pint of the stock.
Add 2 sprigs of rosemary. Stir well.
Let this simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. I like the chicken to fall from the bone and the bones of the chicken to be soft. There will be a fair bit of oil on the top of this dish so carefully try to scoop some of it away.
Meanwhile while this is bubbling away prepare the veg for the couscous; heat the oven to 200 degrees then chop all of the veg up to similar sizes chuck in bashed garlic cloves, the rosemary sprigs and lots of salt and pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil. Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes of until the veg is soft and cooked.
Back to the Tagine!! After about 40 minutes add the orange juice and season well with salt and pepper. At this point I tasted the juice and decided to add in extra cinnamon powder and the grated nutmeg. Stir and leave this on a low heat.
Next we are onto the Pears. Peal, core and quarter these…
Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and stir in the honey. Pop the pears in and on a medium heat let these caramalise. This should take around 15 minutes; you want to cook these so they get good colour but being careful not to burn them.
Once these are cooked pop the whole lot including the juices into the tagine and mix well but carefully (you do not want to break the pears up).
Heat up the remaining pint of chicken stock, once bubbling add in the couscous, stir well then cover and turn the heat off. Leave this for about 4/5 minutes.
Then uncover, fluff the couscous with a fork add a knob of butter and mix again. Then empty the whole lot into the roasting tray along with the delicious vegetables. Squeeze over the Lemon juice and mix well.
Now you’re ready to serve. I tipped my Tagine into a tagine pot (I prefer to cook in a pan) then I garnished with more rosemary, the cinnamon stick and sprinkled over the toasted sesame seeds.
I left the couscous in the roasting tray, if using Beetroot the couscous should be a lovely pink colour 🙂