For how long can one hold to that ‘just came from vacation’ glow? Even though it’s been little over a month since we came back, I am wishing I had more of it left over. I didn’t realize how much I missed the places and the foods I enjoyed in Savannah and Charleston until I found myself reading through this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes. While I enjoy the occasional prune and entrées “on the sweet side of the sweet-savory continuum” , I wasn’t feeling the combination of spices, honey, and fruit. I wanted… bacon. And collard greens. And I wanted to be out of the kitchen in under an hour. Dorie’s French-Morrocan chicken tagine was getting a Lowcountry makeover.
Dorie says that the base for most tagines is cooking onions to the point where they melt. I sweated my onions with about two ounces of bacon and a drizzle of olive oil for about ten minutes over medium heat. To further reduce the cooking time, I used boneless chicken thighs instead of the whole chicken pieces and cut the sweet potatoes in a 1″ dice – the sweet potatoes went into the Dutch oven first to get them to absorb the bacon flavor and then I browned the chicken in there as well. To add warmth to the dish (and not lose completely the ‘tagine spirit’), I sprinkled about three shakes of ground cinnamon and added one extra pinch of cayenne pepper. The bay leaf followed after adding the water and deglazing the bottom of the Dutch oven. The collard greens went in ten minutes afterwards. Since the thighs cook fairly quickly, the dish was ready after simmering for twenty five minutes.
I’m not even going to pretend to feel bad about ditching the saffron, star anise, chicken broth, honey and prunes from the original chicken tagine recipe. We loved this version and I’m sure I will be making it again. I still wonder if the original recipe would win me over, so I’ll head out to check my fellow Doristas chicken tagines with sweet potatoes and prunes (and dates, apricots…).
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking club where on a weekly basis, home cooks all over the world post their interpretations of a selected recipe from Around My French Table – Dorie Greenspan’s award winning cookbook.