I absolutely love, love, love Moroccan food. I think I first fell in love when I wasn’t even old enough to be aware of it on our family’s first trip to Morocco when I was a little child. And later, I had a French teacher in school, whose husband was Moroccan… I still remember the traditional dinner she prepared for us at home, which included mandarines in rose water as dessert, a sweet treat I’m still daydreaming about and haven’t yet figured out exactly what it was!
Strangely enough, I don’t have a proper Moroccan or Maghreb cookbook and should put that on my list to get… but I have a ton of printed recipes from the Internet. I always go to them for inspiration, although today I turned to a friend, Pedro, who’s Colesterol Sin Fronteras blog is full of Moroccan dishes, since he’s also passionate about this marvelous land, their food and culture.
And although we do eat white potatoes occasionally, I omitted it from this recipe and substituted other tubers that I had on hand, plus added some fennel, which provides a unique, anise-like flavour. (By the way, did you know that fennel is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe, the alcoholic drink made from botanicals that supposedly was the culprit of Vincent Van Gogh’s “madness”?)
- 1kg chicken pieces (legs and/or thighs)
- 1 lemon, washed and thinly sliced
- 2 medium red onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small fennel, chopped
- 2 carrots, in small chunks
- 2 sweet potatoes, in small chunks
- 1 parsnip, in small chunks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup whole small olives
- 1/4 cup fresh red pepper, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- sea salt, to taste
- In a deep and wide pot or a tagine clay pot, heat the olive oil over low heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and poach until soft.
- Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
- Then add the pepper and lemon and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to almost cover everything.
- Cook on low for 35-40 minutes, adding more water if necessary, and stirring occasionally. The remaining sauce should be thick.