Hit a tagine high note with a marinade from the Maghreb – the spice and herb chermoula blend. Tangines are great with anything – lamb, beef, seafood and any combo of nuts and dried fruit. The chermoula – a north African marinade – adds flavour to any braise. Rub it on fish or chicken and pan-fry for a great crust. The taste is so delicious you can combine it with any vegetable for an addictive result.
2kg free-range chicken
1 red onion, cut into 6 pieces
2 carrots, cut into 4 cm pieces
400g orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into 4cm-long pieces
12 blanched almonds
250ml chermoula (see below)
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp honey juice of 1 lemon
12 pitted prunes
1 small handful green olives
¼ preserved lemon, pith removed and rind finely sliced
2 tbsp coriander leaves
2 tbsp fl at-leaf parsley leaves
Makes about 500ml
1 red onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large bunch coriander, including stalks, washed, roughly chopped
1½ large bunches flat-leaf parsley, including stalks, washed, roughly chopped
1 heaped tsp sea salt
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1½ tbsp ground chilli
1 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sweet paprika
1½ tbsp ras el hanout
80ml extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1. Put the chicken on a chopping board and remove the wing tips. Remove the legs and separate the thighs and drumsticks. Remove the backbone to leave the breast and wings on the double ribcage. Cut down the centre to separate the two breasts and cut each half into three pieces.
2. Combine chicken pieces, onion, carrot, sweet potato, almonds, chermoula and a little sea salt in a bowl. Marinate for about 1 hour.
3. In a tagine or a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat a little extra virgin oil. Add the chicken marinade combination to the pan and settle the pieces down reasonably flat. Half-cover with water, then add the honey and lemon juice, cover with the lid, and bring to a low boil over a medium-high heat.
4. Reduce the heat to a very gentle simmer. After about 30 minutes, remove the lid and turn the ingredients over carefully. Check if the chicken is cooked through; if so, remove the chicken and add the prunes and olives.
5. Cover the pan again and cook for a further 30 minutes; by this stage everything should be tender. Return the chicken to the pan for the last five minutes of cooking. Remove the tagine or pan from the heat.
6. You can serve the dish in the tagine or pan you have cooked it in, spoon it onto a large platter, or divide among plates before you bring it to the table. Just before serving, sprinkle with the sliced preserved-lemon rind and herbs.
1. Put all the ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor. Process for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the oil until a thick paste forms.
2. Stir through the lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Tip: Chermoula is best eaten as soon as possible after making it but will keep for a few days.
Suggestion: Serve with Neil's Moroccan carrot salad