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Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons

An easy to make dish, made easier by using tinned chickpeas and ready-to eat dried apricots. The preserved lemons are now sold by many upmarket supermarkets and good deli's.

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For 6 main course helpings:

12 Chicken Thighs on the bone – free range if possible
a little Salt & freshly-ground Black Pepper
2 tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil
2 medium Onions, peeled and sliced
4 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon Ras el Hanout Moroccan spice mix – the blend from is excellent and contains both cinnamon & cumin
1 x 2 ins/5cm piece Cinnamon Stick (if your Ras el Hanout spices mix doesn't already contain it)
1 rounded teaspoon (5ml) ground Cumin (if your Ras el Hanout spices mix doesn't already contain it)
1 x 400g tin Chopped Tomatoes, complete with juices
15fl oz/400ml Chicken Stock (made with ½ a stock cube)
2 Preserved Lemons – use the skin, finely-sliced & discard the flesh
7 oz/210g Dried Ready-to-Eat Apricots
1 oz/30g Blanched Almonds
1 x 400g tin Chickpeas, drained
Salt & Pepper to taste.

To serve: Couscous – prepared to the instructions on the packet
a few sprig of chopped Coriander or Parsley to sprinkle over the top


1. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with a little salt and pepper - set these aside.

2. Heat the oil, over a medium heat, in a deep frying pan.

3. Seal the chicken thighs on both sides until they are brown - remove them from the heat and put these in casserole (suitable for use on the top of the stove) or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, large enough to hold all the ingredients.

4 Lower the heat and add the onions. Cook these slowly, without browning, for about 5 minutes - then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the spices, cook for a further 3 minutes, then add this mixture to the casserole.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes and stock, plus the preserved lemon slices, whole apricots and almonds.

6. Bring this mixture to boiling point, then simmer for 30 minutes, with the lid on.

7. Remove the lid, check for salt & pepper seasoning, as tastes differ. Add the drained chick peas and mix them well in.

8. Cook for a further 5 minutes without the lid.

Serve with your prepared couscous or plain rice.

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