Moroccan-style chicken with sour cherries & olives
By adding dried fruit, Tom Kerridge brings a subtle sweetness to this North African chicken tagine. Plus, you can double up and freeze half for later
- Serves: 4 persons
- 8free-range chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
- 2tbsp ras el hanout
- 3tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
- 2onions, chopped
- 2carrots, cut into large chunks
- 4garlic cloves, finely chopped
- thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1tbsp harissa paste (see tip, below)
- ½preserved lemon, finely chopped, or 1 strip of lemon peel
- 1cinnamon stick
- 2bay leaves
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 500ml chicken stock
- 300g pitted green olives, drained
- 100g dried sour cherries or any other dried fruit (like cranberries, apricots, raisins or sultanas)
- chopped coriander and cooked couscous (see tips, below), to serve
Step 1Season the chicken well, and toss with the ras el hanout to coat. This can be prepared the night before and kept chilled. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole or frying pan over a medium heat and spend 15-20 mins browning the chicken on all sides. (You can do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan.) Transfer the chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Step 2Cook the onions and carrots in the pan for 8-10 mins until soft and golden, adding a drizzle more oil if the pan is dry. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 mins more. Stir in the harissa and preserved lemon. Cook for another minute until the vegetables are well coated and sticky. Add the cinnamon and bay leaves, then tip in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Step 3Cook for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick paste. Tip the chicken and its resting juices back into the pan, and pour over the stock. Stir in the olives and cherries and return to a simmer. Put the lid on and simmer gently for 45 mins–1 hr until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
Step 4Scatter over the chopped coriander and serve with couscous. Once completely cool, will keep chilled for up to three days or frozen for three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating over a low heat or in the microwave until piping hot.