So my friend Fatiha came over about a year ago and made, what I thought was the best Tajine ever. This was when Mona was my housemate and she was learning how to cook some items she could make when she returned to America. I didn't really pay attention then; I just ate. And boy did I eat! It was soooo good!
A year later and it's getting to be closer to my time to leave. I decided I needed to learn how to cook more things Moroccan. Fatiha came over and showed me and my new sitemate Jeremy how to make the same Tajine step by step.
Now this was something I was going to keep to myself because I'm sure it will become my specialty at home, but I made it tonight and decided it is just too good not to share. It will be difficult for you to make if you do not have access to a Tajine, so perhaps you'll have to wait for me to come home. For those here in Morocco and those with a Tajine on hand, ENJOY!!!
Fatiha's Zwin Chicken Tajine
-This is for a small-medium sized Tajine. If you have a larger one, just add more vegetables and layer it the same way I discuss here. You may want to add more chicken as well(how many people are you serving?). Just make it fit properly and it's fine.
1 medium sized zuccini peeled
2 tomatoes peeled
1 large potato peeled
1 small bunch celantro- leaves chopped
1/2 lb chicken (1/4 kg) (Use chicken with bones... While I'm sure it could be done with boneless chicken breast, I've never seen a Moroccan do it and it should be fairly intact the whole time. It's ok if it's in several pieces though like a leg and a breast.)
1/8th cup vegi oil (or enough to cover the bottom in a thin layer)
-Saffron (Zaffron dyal duez- the bright orange stuff that comes in packets)
-1 Chicken Boullion Cube
-2 cloves garlic
Start off by washing the chicken and salting the outside. Pour the oil in the Tajine. Place the chicken in the Tajine and cover the top. Place the Tajine directly on the burner at medium high heat (or however you normally do yours with a clay Tajine- mine is metal) and let it sizzle. Start slicing and peeling(if you haven't already) your vegetables. Slice them all to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Check on the chicken- does it look done on the outside?
Turn the burner off and place the chicken on a plate. If there is still skin on the chicken, you can take it off but it is optional to do so. Start layering your vegetables. Place one layer of sliced onion on the bottom of the Tajine- you want to cover as much of the bottom of the Tajine as possible. Next, place one layer of sliced tomato on top of the onion. Place the chicken on top of the tomato layer.
Now for the spices- Use ~1/4 tsp of saffron sprinkled all over the top of everything. Do the same with 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumen, 1/2 tsp tumeric, and 1/4 tsp ginger. ***Take half the chicken boullion cube and break it up on top sprinkling it around.
Next stack potatoes around edges and on top (1 layer like the other vegis); then come the zuccini slices on top of that. If there are any more tomato slices, put them on top to finish it out. ***Crumble the rest of the boullion cube and sprinkle it over all the vegis. Sprinkle chopped celantro on top. 1/2 tsp paprika sprinkled on top and then press or finely chop 2 garlic cloves and sprinkle on top.
Pour water around the edges until it reaches about 1/2 inch below the edge of the Tajine. Place the cover on top. Turn burner on medium, put the neck of a spoon in the edge to lift the lid slightly. Cook for about 25 minutes checking it periodically. If the water level is too low, add some more until it's back up to a half an inch away from where the cover closes. Cook for about another 10 minutes. Test the vegetables by pushing a potato on the top. If it falls apart without too much effort, it's done. If it's not quite ready yet, check it at 10 minute intervals until it's ready.
And... you're done. Let it cool for a few minutes and enjoy with bread.
***This adds quite a bit of salt. If you're doing a small Tajine, you may want to cut back on the amount of this. Perhaps start off with 1/4 and finish with 1/4. For a smaller Tajine, I found that 3/4 was a pretty good amount. Give it a taste test half way through cooking to see.