Beechwood Inn Chicken Tangine
This Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. It is also called a Maraq/marqa in North Africa and the Middle East. A lovely balance of spice and sweetness.
2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs ½ cup seasoned flour 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 3 large shallots, finely chopped (1 cup) 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika Pinch of saffron threads (optional) 3 cups chicken stock 2 tablespoons blood-orange preserves or bitter-orange marmalade 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick 1 thyme sprig 2 cilantro sprigs 6 dried apricots, chopped 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
For spiced pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Rinse chicken in cold water, pat dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and roll in flour to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then brown chicken thighs about 5 minutes. Turn and brown about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate Cook shallots in butter with remaining tablespoon oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and paprika and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken with any juices from plate, saffron (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt to shallot mixture and turn chicken to coat. Add stock and bring to a boil, cover, then cook at a bare simmer, 30 minutes. Turn chicken and add orange preserves, cinnamon stick, thyme, cilantro sprigs, and apricots. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Brown pine nuts while chicken cooks:
Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then stir in pine nuts, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until nuts are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes (watch carefully; they burn easily). Transfer to a small bowl.
Transfer chicken to a platter, cover, and keep warm. If sauce is not thick, boil, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup. Discard herb sprigs, cinnamon stick. Stir in chopped cilantro and spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with nuts.