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Chicken Tagine

This Moroccan-style chicken stew is typically served on a bed of couscous, tiny beads of steamed semolina. Quick-cooking couscous is widely available; serve it plain, or mix in raisins, currants or toasted almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 6 chicken thighs, about 3 lb. total
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Directions:

Brown the chicken
On a large plate, stir together the flour, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Coat the chicken thighs evenly with the flour mixture, shaking off the excess; reserve the remaining flour mixture. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Turn the thighs over and brown for 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the chicken thighs to a slow cooker.

Deglaze the pan
Pour off all but about 1 Tbs. fat from the fry pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the cumin, cayenne and the reserved flour mixture and stir briefly with a wooden spoon just until fragrant. Pour in the broth. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour the contents of the pan over the chicken.

Cook the stew
Add the 1/2 cup parsley, the garlic and tomatoes to the slow cooker. Tuck 4 of the lemon quarters around the chicken thighs. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or on low for 4 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the chickpeas and cook for 1 hour more. Remove and discard the lemon quarters. Season with salt and black pepper. Garnish with parsley and the remaining lemon quarters and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).