Chicken and Walnut Tajine with Quince Paste
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MarocBaba and I always come to a head when I start “playing” with a tajine. To him there’s no messing with an original. When I started to put this tajine together he thought it was another attempt on my part to make something new. But, I first saw this tajine in Paula Wolfert’s Food of Morocco. The original calls for cut up quinces. I’ve never seen a quince in our markets and am sure they simply are not in demand here. I did however have some quince paste from another recipe I had made. The quince paste really worked beautifully.
I prepared this tajine in an unglazed clay tajine and think that it truly made the flavor that much deeper. I’m not saying you couldn’t try this in a glazed tajine or even in a heavy pot but I just don’t think it will taste the same. Be sure to cook this over low heat and watch a little more closely than other tajines. The quince paste can dry up quickly.
- 1 lb of chicken pieces
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of crumbled saffron threads
- small handful chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp butter cubed
- 1/4 c water
- 3 tsp quince paste
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- In the bottom of an unglazed clay tajine add the vegetable oil and turn heat to medium.
- Finely chop the onion and crush 2 teaspoons of garlic (2-3 cloves). Add these to the tajine.
- In a bowl mix together the salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, saffron threads, parsley and quince paste with enough water to create a paste.
- Rinse the chicken and place in the spice paste, taking care that the chicken is coated.
- Add the chicken pieces to the tajine along with any remaining marinade.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of cubed butter.
- Cover the tajine and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Allow to cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Check at the 1 hour, 1.5 hour and 2 hour mark and add a little more water if necessary.
- The tajine is ready when the chicken is tender to the touch. There should still be liquid in the tajine.
- In a skillet, add the walnuts and turn heat to medium-high.
- When the walnuts begin to toast you will be able to smell the oils being released.
- Stir the walnuts to make sure they don't burn.
- Remove from the heat as soon as the walnuts begin to brown.
- Top the tajine with toasted walnuts and serve immediately. This dish is traditionally eaten with crusty bread but could also be served on top of rice, barley or couscous.
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