Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Zucchini and Couscous

As a passionate cook and food blogger, I have been very frustrated trying to get my little 16 month old boy to eat. Granted the first year I was lazy and would cook my own dinner after he went to bed, but when we finally started dining together at the dinner table, I became exhausted trying to get him to eat. He hated anything with texture and preferred sheee sheee (Cheerios) and Puuuuffffs to pasta bolognese.  It was getting so bad that at one point it was recommended by his doctor that we take him to a swallow specialist.  We saw the specialist last month and since she had some concerns, we scheduled a tentative Barium x-ray exam for late July.

Well that has all changed and I am pleased to announce that on doctor's orders the exam has been cancelled!!!  Two weeks ago it was a lovely evening in Astoria and I decided to take Christian to Brick Cafe.  I ordered a Coq au Vin (wine cooks out), my husband got the braised short ribs and Christian got a side of mash potatoes.  You can imagine my surprise when Christian ate everything! The chicken, the meat, even the petit pois! I was so excited that I kept telling the waitress how happy I was,  I actually think I scared her a bit. The following week we tried Navrattan Korma, Veggie Samosas and Raita from Seva and he ate it all! Yesterday, Fejoida for lunch and last night a Moroccan chicken tagine with apricots and zucchini (the recipe that I will post today).  Next week he may be back to Cheerios and English Muffins, but for now I am one happy mommy!

Adapted from the "Spicy Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Rosemary and Ginger" Recipe from the book Tagine, by Gillie Basan


- 2 Tbs butter and 2 Tbs olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs and 2 sliced chicken breasts (you can get the pre-sliced chicken tenders, I opted to choose skinless)
- 3 zucchinis sliced in half moons
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 sprigs of rosemary, one chopped the other two cut in half
- 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup quartered dried apricots
- 2 Tbs clear honey
- 1 x 14-oz can plum tomatoes with their juice (I chop the tomatoes a little)
- salt and pepper
- fresh basil leaves

* 2 red chilies (optional) I love using chilies when making this for myself, but omitted them when making this dish for Christian. If you do use them, finely chop them and saute with the onions.

- 1 2/3 cup traditional cous cous
- 1 3/4 cup water (or the broth from above for extra flavor)
- 2 Tbs butter or olive oil
- pinch of salt


Salt and pepper the chicken.  Heat the butter and olive oil until the butter has melted. Add the onion, chopped rosemary and ginger* and saute until the onion has softened.  Add the chicken and brown. Make sure the onions do not burn. Add the tomatoes with their juice, honey, apricots, cinnamon and rosemary sprigs. Add additional water if needed so that the chicken is covered.  I have made this dish in a traditional tagine from Morocco (actually from the Morocco at Epcot) or a saucier.

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and cook gently for 35 to 40 minutes.  About 15 minutes before it is done, add the sliced zucchini. (The broth will sweeten the zucchini which is why Christian ate them). When its done, season to taste and add torn pieces of basil as depicted above.

For the couscous, bring the liquid with the butter or oil and salt to a boil. Stir in couscous and shut off the flame. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork. You can also make couscous in the oven, or the traditional way in a couscousier (which you can find in a Moroccan market), but stovetop works for me.

In the past I have served this dish with a basic baby arugula salad in a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy this dish as much as we do!


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