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Foolproof chicken tagine


Brrr. It's COLD.

In need of something warming, spiced and easy to throw together? Always. Especially after battling through the snowy streets of Paris with a push chair entirely unsuited to the terrain, for example. EXHAUSTING.

Moroccan spices, sweet dates, juicy chicken and tender squash are gloriously combined in this failsafe cheat's tagine. Tasty tasty good and highly suitable for kitchen novices who are eager to expand their repertoire (tried and tested by DS, to my delight). This recipe yields plenty of sauce and squash for four - you can vary the amount of chicken you use depending on how hungry you are or how many mouths you're feeding. Any left over sauce is super delicious heated up with some lentils.

Serve the tagine with red rice, couscous or quinoa.

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Chicken, squash and date tagine

Makes 4 servings, 20 minutes prep plus 30 minutes in the oven

main / autumn / winter / easy peasy / nothing fancy / gluten free / dairy free / party / date night / baby

* Ras el hanout - 1 tsp

* Paprika - 1 tsp

* Ground cumin - 1 tsp

* Olive oil - 2 tbsp

* Salt - a generous pinch

* Chicken - 4 free range thighs/legs

* Onion - 1 large, peeled and chopped

* Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled and sliced

* Fresh ginger - 1 thumb sized piece, peeled and finely chopped

* Chicken stock - 500ml (salt free if cooking for baby)

* Lemon - juice of 1/2

* Butternut or kuri squash - 1/2 large or 1 small, thickly sliced, skin on

* Dates - 8

* Fresh coriander - to serve

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Mix the spices, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl until you have a smooth paste. Then rub this mixture all over the chicken pieces.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy based casserole pan over a medium high heat. When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, and sizzle for a few minutes. Then turn the chicken and sizzle for a few more. It should be golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, fry the onion, garlic and ginger over a medium heat until softened. Add a splash of water to get all the spices mixed in.

Add the squash to the pan and stir well to coat with the spices. Then add the stock and lemon juice to the pan and bring to a simmer. If you're using unsalted chicken stock add a few pinches of salt. Then lay the chicken pieces in the pan. The chicken skin should be face up and out of the liquid.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Add the dates to the pan and bake for another 15 minutes.

Serve with fresh coriander over red rice, couscous, lentils or quinoa.


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