Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022

© Con Poulos

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Tagine spiced chicken

Dishes that are special and achievable for the season of entertaining

When serving chicken, it’s important that it doesn’t dry out. So one thing that makes this dish successful is the great broth; the other is the spices — paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, crushed red pepper and cardamom— that add a very distinctive flavouring.

The dish is served in a shallow bowl; you pour the broth in first, then add the vegetables, and place the chicken on top.

One important point about chicken: when you’re preparing it for special-event dinners that need to be delicious, you must have the skin — but it needs to get really, really crispy. So the trick to making any chicken dish delicious is to sear it in as hot a pan as possible to make the skin as crispy as you can get it.

Note that the chicken needs to marinate overnight.

1 2-oz. (60g) jar tagine spice
4 or 5 garlic cloves, peeled
extra-virgin olive oil to make a paste, plus 1 tbsp. (15 ml) for the pan
4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
preserved lemon slices, for garnish

Combine the tagine spice and garlic in a food processor. With the motor running, add the oil in small increments until you have a spreadable paste.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and place in a baking pan. Smear the tagine-garlic paste over both sides. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken up to room temperature at least 30 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, wipe the chicken clean of all the paste.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Heat the 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, ovenproof sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking. Carefully add the chicken, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crispy, then flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

To serve, spoon some of the pan juices into the bottom of a bowl, add a mound of Israeli (or pearl) couscous (pictured here with chickpeas, olives and pomegranate seeds), and place the chicken on top. Garnish with a slice of preserved lemon. Serves 4.

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