We love a good dinner party. One sunny, summery, Sunday evening when Sandra was visiting, Nathan, my housemate, made a gorgeous tagine.
Candles, gorgeous white wine, and some nibbles (baby plum tomatoes with mint leaves, olives, feta stuffed spicy peppers) to start the evening off.
Nathan used Jamie Oliver’s chicken, olive and preserved lemon tagine but used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken and he used fresh lemon instead of preserved lemon. This gave it a very fresh and tangy flavour – great for the summer weather.
The couscous had some fresh coriander and toasted almond slices thrown in which gave it a nice flavour and a good crunch.
On the side there was a greek yogurt mixed with harissa for a little spice and creaminess to have with the tagine.
All in all a refreshing, tangy meal for a bright summers evening. Thank you Nathan!
Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine – “Jamie Does Spain” – Jamie Oliver
1 whole chicken (approximately 1.5kg), preferably free range or organic, skin-on, jointed into 4 (get your butcher to do this for you)
1–2 large bulbs of fennel
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
2–3 small preserved lemons, deseeded and chopped
80g black and green olives, stoned
a good pinch of saffron
500ml hot organic chicken stock
For the spice rub
1 heaped teaspoon coriander seeds, bashed up
1 level teaspoon ground cumin
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put your chicken pieces into a large bowl, massage them with the spice rub then cover with clingfilm and put into the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours or, even better, overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a generous lug of olive oil in a tagine or casserole-type pan and fry the chicken pieces over a medium to high heat, skin side down first, for about 5 to 10 minutes until gorgeous and golden brown.
While your chicken fries, chop each fennel bulb into 8 wedges and add these to the pan along with the onions, coriander stalks and garlic. Stir well and fry for a couple more minutes, then mix in the preserved lemons, olives and saffron. Pour in the hot stock, give everything a good stir, then cover with a lid or foil and simmer on a low heat for 1½ hours, or until the meat starts to fall away from the bone. Halfway through, have a check and give it a good stir. Keep an eye on it and add a splash of water if it looks dry.When the time’s up and your chicken looks perfect, stir gently. If it’s still a bit liquidy, leave it to blip away with the lid off until thickened slightly. Have a taste, season with a pinch of salt and pepper if you think it needs it, then sprinkle with the coriander leaves. There’s enough love and care in the tagine for it not to need anything fancy, so serve it simply, with a large bowl of lightly seasoned steaming couscous.