Chicken Tagine with Tangy Onions

 How often do you see onions and honey together, or mint and ginger, lemon and thyme even orange juice and chicken broth much less all in one place?  There are a lot of very different flavors all mixed up here aren’t there? (Personally I’m thinking some kind of mint-ginger ice cream sounds fantastic though, maybe with some chocolate chunks).

After reading through the recipe at myrecipes.com (Chicken Tagine at myrecipes.com) I was intrigued and since I’m always on the lookout for healthy, flavorful meals that won’t bore the tastebuds, I gave this one a go.  What I liked most about this dish is the contrast between the sweet-and-tangy onions over the cinnamon/ginger flavors of the chicken. This is treat to the tastebuds in the middle of a dreary winter and hey, if you can’t get warm outside then at least this will warm you up on the inside.

About as easy to prepare as a dish could be, this dish will warm your belly and infuse your kitchen with a delightful aroma. All you need is a dutch oven or at least a pot with a lid, unless you have a tagine then by all means, use the tagine!

Messy Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs fresh chopped mint
  • 1 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika (smoked if you have it)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

—————————————–

  • 4 lb (1.8 kg) chicken breasts (cut into strips), bone-in thigh/leg quarters, tenderloins or any combination you prefer.
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs butter + 1 Tbs
  • 7 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 6 fresh mint sprigs, ends trimmed
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 12 ounces chicken stock or broth
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced into half rings
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large lemon quartered, seeds removed
  • Garnishes: fresh chopped mint, toasted almonds or a smoky salt

Mix the first 7 ingredients (above the dotted line) in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces, coating well on all sides and set aside. This will be like a dry-rub. Next, heat the oil and 2 Tbs butter in your cookware then add the chicken in one even layer. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and onto a plate or bowl, leaving some of the oil/butter in the pan.

Now, add the smashed garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, then, add half of the mint and thyme sprigs, broth, chicken and any juices on the plate back to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. If using bone-in chicken, be sure to test doneness near the bone.

While that simmer is going on, add the last Tbs butter to a smaller saute pan and melt over low heat. Add the sliced onions, the remaining mint and thyme sprigs, honey and lemon quarters to the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer.  Stir frequently to dissolve the honey and prevent the onions from sticking, cook onions for about 10 minutes or until soft. Mash the lemon quarters up a bit while stirring to squeeze out some of the juices. Simmer until the liquid is reduced and thickened, about another 10 minutes. Remove sprigs before serving.

Serve chicken and broth on a bed of cous-cous, rice or riced cauliflower and top with the tangy onion mixture. Garnish with more fresh mint, toasted almonds or a smoky sea-salt. Try adding a side of Moroccan Carrots and Green Beans to go with it! Colorful, flavorful and a full meal on the table in under an hour (with leftovers!!)

 

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