These days I was lucky and, thanks to Claire Borg, got a big bag of local quinces! Don’t know if you guys have ever tried them, but I really love these fruits! Despite quinces are actually not edible when raw, they are perfect for cooking. They remind me of my childhood when we used to make jam from them, which was probably one of my favourites. Now I’m not that much into sweets and rarely make jams at home, but I like to use fruits when cooking poultry and meat dishes. Quinces could also be matched with lamb, as well as they could perfectly substitute apples in any pork recipes. As these yellow fruits nicely complement poultry dishes, today I’ve decided to cook this simple but heavenly luscious chicken tagine with quinces and preserved lemons.
Hope you will enjoy try it out and enjoy! And don’t miss Clair’s article about quinces, which will be out with Taste December issue!
Chicken tagine with quinces and preserved lemons
- 1 corn fed chicken
- A big pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp paprika
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 onions
- 3 big garlic cloves
- Cinnamon stick
- A small handful of the cardamom pods
- 200 ml of light chicken stock or water
- 2 medium quinces
- 3 preserved lemons (I used baby lemons, you might need only 2 if you have bigger ones)
Joint the chicken into 8 pieces. Mix ginger, turmeric, paprika, coriander and cinnamon together. Rub the mixture over the chicken and leave to marinate as long as you can (even overnight).
Take the chicken out of the fridge and bring it to the room temperature.
Soak saffron in the hot water.
Heat some olive oil in a heavy-based sauté pan over a medium heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in a pan skin side down to render the fat and brown the skin. It may take around 10 minutes and you just want to leave the chicken to crisp and not to move it. It is also important to keep the pieces in a single layer.
When the chicken pieces browned nicely and skin is crisp remove them from the pan and set aside.
Peel and dice the onion and crush the garlic using a press. Cut preserved lemons in quarters and remove any pips.
Clean the sauté pan and heat some more olive oil. Sweat the onions over the low heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Return chicken to the pan, add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, saffron with soaking liquid, preserved lemons and 200 ml of the light chicken stock or water. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Wash quinces very well, core them and cut into wedges.
Add quinces to the chicken and cook 25 minutes more. Chicken should be cooked and quinces tender but not falling apart.
Check if chicken is ready. Lift one piece, put it on the white plate and cut down to the bone, you want to see the juices run clear.
Cook some couscous and serve chicken on top, pouring the sauce over it.