middle eastern food

Chicken & Fig Tagine

Chicken & Fig Tagine

The perfect winter stew, made to satisfy everyone. Full of different flavors and spices it opens up the smell of the house. It can be made in a crockpot and forgotten about, or cooked for 1-2 hours with a result of tender chicken, and vegetable goodness. Tagine has a long history in Moroccan cuisine, and here I have simplified it for the average cook without stripping any flavors away.

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 5 tbsp tagine spices

  • 2 tbsp salt (or more to taste)

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 3 medium sized onions, peeled and large diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup raw chickpea, soaked overnight and drained

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and large diced

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 2 cups warm water

  • 3 tbsp fig jam

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 lemon, juiced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, 2 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Pat dry the chicken thighs and combine them with the flour and spice mixture.

  2. In a large heavy bottom pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat. Once it’s hot, increase the heat and cook the chicken, for 4-5 minutes, until each side is brown. Once the chicken is all brown, set them aside.

  3. In the same pot that you cooked the chicken, cook onions and garlic with 2 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Make sure to scrape the chicken bits while you are cooking onions.

  4. Add the chickpea to the pot. Cook them for 3-5 minutes. Then, add carrots, 3 tbsp of tagine spice, and 1 tbsp of salt. Cook everything together for another 6-8 minutes until vegetables are getting tender.

  5. Add the chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a simmer.

  6. In a small bowl, mix warm water with fig jam. Once the tagine is simmering, add the fig water, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves and simmer for anoter 30 minutes.

  7. After simmering, add the reserved browned chicken to the pot and cook for another 30-45 minutes.

  8. Transfer the tagine to a serving bowl and finish it with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Minted Tahini Eggplant

Minted Tahini Eggplant!

I can't lie, when I received Plenty - the cookbook by the infamous Yotam Ottolenghi, all I could do was stare at the cover. The longer I stared at it, the more I fell in love! A few weeks later I decided to take a spin on that cover photo. I made one of grandmother's favorite side dishes - Tahini eggplant! As a young boy growing up in Lebanon - eggplant was at every meal. This is my take on a modern healthy lebanese eggplant dish! This could be a main dish, or  a side dish - whatever you prefer :)

 Photos by Jessica Marx

Total Time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4 people

Eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants, washed

  • 3 tbsp EVOO

  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped

  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • Salt + black pepper

Garnish:

  • 6-7 parsley leaves

  • 6-7 mint leaves

  • 1 pomegranate, seeded

Sauce:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp evoo

  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1.    Preheat oven, or grill to 450F.

2.   Slice the eggplant into thirds, lengthways. Make four small parallel cuts, throughout the heart of the eggplant.

3.    Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and drizzle with olive oil. place eggplants, cut-side up. Sprinkle with the rest of the olive oil, thyme, rosemary, cumin, salt and pepper. 

4.     Bake for 45 minutes, until brown, soft and tender.

5.    While the eggplants are baking mix greek yogurt, tahini, minced garlic, lemon juice, oil, and salt. Mix until combined, and smooth.

6.   Serve eggplant, with plenty of tahini yogurt. Sprinkle with salt, pomegranate seeds, mint, and parsley.

7.   Sahtein!