Inspired by North African flavors, Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Pistachios is spicy-sweet comfort food at its best.
Happy New Year, friends! I wish you a coming year of peace, cherished relationships and many meals with close ones gathered around the table together.
We spent last night at home. Yup, we’re big party animals, hunkering down in our comfy clothes and hanging together instead of heading out in the damp cold then driving home along with the drunk masses.
I spent my evening watching Alabama roll over Washington and Clemson rip Ohio State to shreds. Okay, okay, I’ll tell the truth. The game was on but I wasn’t really watching. I don’t care about college ball or bowl games. But Doug does so I was there to lend my support to whichever team he appeared to be cheering for (or ranting over).
I also provided the food last night, as I will today. Unlike many of my friends here in the southeast, we won’t be eating collard, black eyed peas, cornbread and pork. Instead, we eat appetizers; really unhealthy but mighty tasty finger food. It makes perfect sense since college football was on yesterday and pro football is on today.
Once this weekend’s over and we are needing a detox from all the junk I’m feeding us these two days, this is the kind of recipe I’ll reach for. Full of flavor, easy to make, but healthy. We’ll need that.
When I saw the photo of this dish on page 216 of Real Simple, I thought for sure it was a beef dish because the meat was so dark. It’s not though, it’s definitely chicken; chicken that’s been tossed with a combination of cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and salt.
After that’s done and it’s been browned in a pot, the chicken is set aside and the rest of the dish comes together; sautéed onions, tomatoes, halved apricots and broth, then the chicken’s returned. After a simmer to fully cook everything, the dish is done.
See, I told you it was quick.
I opted to serve the tagine with rice instead of quinoa simply because I think it soaks up the sauce better.
I’m a tagine fan. My first experience with it was about three years ago, a version from Better Homes & Gardens that also used chicken and apricots. We loved it as well as Fine Cooking’s take on the dish back in 2014.
The first thing I noticed when I dished up the servings this time was that the tagine was very apricot-heavy. Following the instructions, I ended up with three cups of halved dried apricots. It was a lot of sweet, sweet that wasn’t balanced by enough savory. Even though there was a good dose of cumin, ginger and salt, it wasn’t enough to cut the flavor of the apricots.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d add only a cup of halved dried apricots.
Chicken thighs: $3.00
Diced tomatoes: $1.69
Cherry tomatoes: $3.69
Dried apricots: $4.99
Chicken broth: $1.99
Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Pistachios Recipe
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tablespoon kosher salt
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-in. pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 8 halved apricots, or 3 cups halved dried apricots
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Cooked quinoa, chopped fresh parsley, and roasted, salted pistachios, for serving
- Mix the cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium high. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onions to the pot along with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot along with the canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, apricots, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve over the quinoa, topped with the parsley and pistachios.