Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs & Sweet Potatoes…A One Pot Magic Carpet Sharable Meal

chicken tagine

Fall and Winter are my favorite times for what I call “real cooking”. Cooler days and nights call for warmer, cozy foods. I do so love the deep, darker colors of roasted meats and vegetables all nestled down in one pot with magic carpet spices & herbs…all the juices swirling together to create flavorful sopping with a chunk of crusty bread. This is how we like to eat in the fall and winter.

Words like “stews”, “braising”, “roasting” come to my mind this time of year as well as “tagine”. Tagine is both a type of casserole dish used in much North African cooking as well as types of recipes/stews using said dish. One day I am going to purchase a real tagine casserole dish, but in the meantime I make my recipe for “Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs and Sweet Potatoes” in a heavy, oven-safe pot and that works just fine. I got my beautiful “bird” from my CSA, Fresh Harvest. Below is “before” cooking……….

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……this is “after”.

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The dried figs plump up, the sweet potatoes soften…the juicy chicken is absolutely falling off the bone. Opening the lid conjures up distant lands as the aromas of coriander, turmeric and ginger waft up.

From Nashville to Morocco in a magic-carpet one-pot very sharable meal.  Bon Appetit (or “besseha” Arabic/Moroccan.)

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Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs and Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken cut into quarters or 4 leg quarters
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large onion cut into large chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato peeled & cut into chunks
  • 12 whole dried figs
  • the juice and zest of one orange
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a skillet brown the chicken pieces in olive oil over medium high heat. Set aside.
  3. Place browned chicken pieces in the bottom of a large oven-safe pot with a lid.
  4. Evenly scatter over chicken pieces the smashed garlic cloves, cumin seed, coriander, ginger, turmeric cayenne pepper, black pepper & sea salt.
  5. Nestle the chunked onions & sweet potatoes and whole dried figs and orange zest under and around the chicken pieces.
  6. Gently pour the orange juice and chicken stock into the pot.
  7. Cover and bake for approximately 2 hours or until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone done.
  8. Raise oven temp to 375. Uncover pot and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with thick slices of crusty bread for sopping. The flavors are sublime…the aroma transporting!

Note: This would be an excellent alternative for a Thanksgiving meal instead of turkey perhaps?

Teresa Blackburn         teresablackburnfoodstyling.com        foodonfifth.com

(This recipe is based on one I cooked years ago for the first time by food writer and cook, Crescent Dragonwagon. I have made changes to suit our palate.)

Sources:

White Enamel Oven-safe Pot – TJMaxx

Linens – Ikea and my collection

Chicken – Organic whole hen from my CSA Fresh Harvest. Fresh Harvest/Locally Grown

“Beauregard & Stokes Sweet Potato Tian”

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              Recently I worked on a photo shoot  that called for “Purple Sweet Potatoes”? Luckily they were not hard to find & luckily there were a few left over from the shoot for me to bring home to Food on Fifth. I also happened to have a couple of  “Beauregard” sweet potatoes which are a deep orange-red inside purchased from my CSA, Fresh Harvest.

I love potatoes…any and all potatoes..but I do have a special adoration for the sometimes gnarly locally grown sweet potato in all it’s formations. Never uniform in shape or color, or size…these are the ones I am drawn to.

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Mashed together with butter…..a gratin with cream or milk….baked? I recently ran across a reference to a dish I was unfamiliar with….a “Tian”….it seems it can be both a shallow casserole type dish originating in Provence  as well as a recipe cooked in this type of dish. I realized I had just purchased a “tian the dish” in which I could bake the “tian recipe”!

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The turquoise tian…the purple & deep orange sweet potatoes…stunningly beautiful.

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Sliced…….

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…Tossed……

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…Arranged….

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…Baked.

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A Sweet Potato Tian

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients:

  • 2 orange sweet potatoes (yams, etc) mine were “Beauregard’s”
  • 2 purple sweet potatoes (Stokes Purple) or any other
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots sliced
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • fresh or dried thyme leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and pat dry the sweet potatoes. Peel using a vegetable peeler and trim ends flat. Slice each into “coins” about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Toss sweet potato slices in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt & pepper until well coated.
  4. In a “tian” (shallow earthenware casserole dish) scatter sliced shallots over the bottom and then alternate the slices of purple and red sweet potatoes..2 red, 2 purple and so on until the dish is filled.
  5. Scatter thyme leaves over all. Cover dish with a sheet of foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes covered. Uncover & sprinkle Cheddar & Gruyere over the top.
  7. Return to the oven, raising the temp to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20-30 more minutes until the potatoes are “knife” tender and the cheeses are melted and just a bit bubbly. Serve immediately or set aside and cover loosely with foil for up to 30 minutes.

Notes: This is a great lower calorie and fat dish than the typical “gratin” which usually has milk or cream,  and cheeses. Serve as a side dish or with a salad as an entrée.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth Blog 11/2014   teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

Sources:

Turquoise Tian Dish – Set of 3 “Anthropologie” online or in store ; Linen Napkin “Restoration Hardware” online; Silver Spoon “Gas Lamp Antique Mall, Nashville”; Brown Speckled Enamel “Nashville Flea Market”