Maybe cooking is

Chicken Tagine & Couscous

Posted on: March 1, 2010

Crockpot recipe #3 this weekend from a Williams-Sonoma cookbook, which meant I invested in lots of spices for a Moroccan dish.  (If anyone’s keeping up, I mentioned my spice-y intrigue two posts ago.)

I made Chicken tagine with green olives and lemon with toasted pine nut couscous (Near East mix).  Apparently, tagine refers to a type of earthenware pot from Morocco that can be used basically for cooking or more decoratively for serving.  Not having one of these on hand, my crockpot is a Western substitution.

Cooking tagineServing tagine

Serving tagine

Another serving tagine because it's pretty

I first pan-fried my chicken on the stove with extra virgin olive oil, then sautéed the onion and garlic with the spices, and put it all into the crockpot.  The dish was made pungent and aromatic, and the chicken drumsticks and breasts were incredibly tender after four hours of slow cooking.  I’m not sure I would include all of the spices (pepper, paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander and saffron threads) again, since some are optional, in favor of a more simplified taste.

A did you know moment for the expensive saffron threads: Saffron comes from a violet crocus and only three stigmas, or threads, are hand-picked from each flower.  7500 flowers are needed to produce one pound of saffron.  Needless to say, I bought more than enough – 0.03 ounces.  Pervasively fragrant and intensely flavored, saffron is often used in Italian risotto, paella, Spanish and French seafood stews and Scandinavian sweet breads.

Has anyone else experimented with saffron?  Good results?

A Moroccan proverb provides the thought for the week: “He who wants honey should tolerate bee stings.”

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