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

Pumpkin Ginger Scones with a Maple Drizzle

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“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.”  Emily Dickinson.

I, for one, love late fall. It is not the anticipation of the Holidays, nor all the hoopla that goes with them, but the foods. Pumpkins for pies & cakes, winter squash, deep reddish-brown sweet potatoes, the aroma of sage…it is finally time to crank up the oven again and bake.

These pumpkin scones I made around Thanksgiving week last year. Recently I pulled out my recipe to make them again. They are easy, seasonal and have some of my favorite baking ingredients for this time of year.

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Pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a pinch of cardamom. Kerrygold butter and white whole wheat flour.

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A really good quality crystallized ginger from The Ginger People. This really pushed the flavor over the top of goodness.

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The dough is enough to make 2 rounds or 12 scones.

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Pattycake, pattycake & brush with cream……each cut into 6 scones.

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Sanding sugar, pumpkin seeds or pepitas, a drizzle of maple syrup.

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Fresh from the oven with more maple syrup drizzled over the top. Best eaten warm.

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Pumpkin Ginger Scones with a Maple Syrup Drizzle

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown/raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into small chunks and chilled
  • 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • 1/4 cup sanding sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (divided)

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt & spices.
  2. Add butter chunks and with your fingers or a pastry blender work the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Stir in the chopped crystallized ginger.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin and eggs.
  4. Add pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until a dough forms.
  5. Using your hands form the dough into two balls & then flatten both slightly.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment & lightly flour. Place dough rounds on pan.
  7. Flatten and shape each dough round into a 6-7 inch circle, each about 1″thick.
  8. Brush the top of each one with cream. Cut each dough circle into 6 wedges.
  9. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar & pumpkin seeds. Chill 30 minutes before baking.
  10. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Right before baking drizzle tops with half the maple syrup. Bake for about 25 minutes or until scones are golden brown. Check doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center…if needed, bake another 5 minutes.
  11. Drizzle hot scones with the remaining maple syrup. Eat warm.

Notes: These scones could be made with Butternut Squash and use Pecans or walnuts  or dusted with cinnamon sugar.   Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth

“Easy-to-Make Simple Syrups” Holiday Gifts, E.A.T. #15

cocktails with simple syrups

Time fleets….gift-giving season is here…just a perusal of Etsy or Scoutmob makes it very clear that home-made, hand-made and diy gifts are the “thing”. With that in mind here is a final, very easy-as-this gift idea for all your food friends. Make one or make them all, it only takes an afternoon in your kitchen, and it really will put you in a holiday mood. I promise!

“Beet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup” chilled with a splash of white rum or drizzled over vanilla ice cream with a sugar cookie? “Cranberry & Orange” with white wine anyone? “Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” added to a cup of relaxing hot tea with a slice of lime? Or maybe an “Apple, Habanero & Mint” with Seltzer & fruit ice cubes for a non-alcoholic pick-me-up?

Simple syrups

From Top Left clockwise: “Fresh Beet & Ginger”, “Gala Apple, Habanero & Mint”, “Cranberry Orange” and “Very Lemon Thyme” simple syrups.

The process of each syrup is the same. It is as “easy-as-this”.

Basic Simple Syrup Recipe

1 cup water (liquid) + 1 cup sugar, a 1-1 ratio

“Cranberry & Orange Simple Syrup” – 1 lb fresh cranberries, the peel & juice from one orange, 2 cups water + 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer, stirring often until mixture thickens & sugar has melted. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat. Let cool completely.

Cranberry Orange Simple SyrupCranberry & Orange Simple Syrup

“Apple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup” – Using same process as above just add 2 chopped apples,  1/2 tsp. finely chopped Habanero pepper (wear gloves!) & 1/2 cup mint leaves to pan.

Apple, Habanero & mint simple syrupApple, Habanero & Mint Simple Syrup

“Fresh Beet Juice & Ginger Root Simple Syrup” – (I had cooked some fresh beets in water for another recipe..the color was just fantastic, I tasted it and it was really sweet and delicious…a simple syrup came of this happy accident.)  2 cups fresh beet juice + 1/4 cup peeled & sliced fresh ginger + 1 tbsp lemon peel simmered with 2 cups sugar made one really great syrup!

Beet Juice & Ginger Simple SyrupBeet Juice & Ginger Simple Syrup

“Very Lemon & Thyme Simple Syrup” – the peel of 2 lemons, 1 tsp lemon extract or syrup + a handful of fresh thyme. Same process, subtle flavors.

Lemon & Thyme Simple SyrupLemon Thyme Simple Syrup

How to Bottle or Jar:

After syrups have cooled completely strain each through a fine sieve. Wash & dry bottles or jars with lids.

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strained simple syrup

Pour strained liquids into prepared bottles or jars. I, once again, got out my stash of bottles, caps & bottle capper (all from All Seasons here in Nashville) to decant my simple syrups into.

bottles of simple syrups

The apple has a hint of pink, the beet a deep red-burgundy, the lemon light & yellow, and the cranberry a clear red.

It is as “easy-as-that”.

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have fun! life is not perfect.