Moroccan Chicken Tagine With Saffron Rice

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This delicious saffron rice and Moroccan Chicken Tagine truly awaken your tastebuds with its blend of flavours and textures, where tender chicken meets flavoursome tagine gravy, all served over a bed of fragrant saffron-infused rice and topped with a caramelized onion and raisin sauce called ‘Tfaya‘. This recipe is more than a meal; it’s a celebration of Moroccan culinary creativity. Having said that, I do respect that some people personally don’t like to mix sweet things with savoury dishes. I too was among them. But I think your tastebuds change as you grow older so it’s always worth trying.

Perfect for Special Occasions & Sharing with Friends

This dish is perfect for sharing with loved ones. Gather around the table and enjoy the communal experience and blessings of eating together with your family and friends. The richness of the flavours and warmth of the dish create a cosy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for creating lasting memories with your loved ones.

How is Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Saffron Rice made?

The tender, juicy chicken in this recipe is infused with flavourful tagine spices and sauce while cooking, then taken out and finished off in the oven or under a grill. This gives its skin the perfect crunchy outer crisp and golden colour. The rice is washed, soaked and added to cook in the tagine sauce until it takes on a golden hue and delicate fragrance, providing the perfect base for this creative dish. The caramelized onions are mixed in with a few spoons of chicken stock and sweetened with raisins and a spoonful of honey that adds just enough moisture to each mouthful of fluffy saffron rice.

Pairing Suggestions

You can pair this dish with a refreshing green salad of mixed greens dressed with a light vinaigrette, such as Tabouleh, and Ezme Salad adds the perfect zesty tomato base to complement the richness of the chicken and rice. However, if you want to keep it traditionally Moroccan, try having it with Moroccan Aubergine or Pepper Salad!

In conclusion, this saffron rice cooked with Moroccan chicken tagine is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. You have to appreciate that every aspect of this dish is a testament to the beauty of Moroccan cuisine, that’s why this is the perfect recipe to experience an authentic taste of Morocco in your own home.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Saffron Rice

This delicious saffron rice and Moroccan Chicken Tagine truly awaken your tastebuds with its blend of flavours and textures, where tender chicken meets flavoursome tagine gravy, all served over a bed of fragrant saffron-infused rice and topped with a caramelized onion and raisin sauce called ‘Tfaya‘. This recipe is more than a meal; it’s a celebration of Moroccan culinary creativity. Having said that, I do respect that some people personally don’t like to mix sweet things with savoury dishes. I too was among them. But I think your tastebuds change as you grow older so it’s always worth trying.
Servings 6
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 500 g Rice
  • 1 cup fried almonds for garnish (optional)

Caramelized Onion Sauce

  • 500 g onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup raisins soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, then drained
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar or honey (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (tagine gravy)

Chicken Tagine

  • 1 1000g small whole chicken cut into 4 pieces with skin,
  • 1 very large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout (can substitute with a few whole cloves and a pinch of nutmeg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon smen Moroccan preserved butter, optional
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 6 cups 1 1/2 liters water

Instructions

Chicken Tagine

  • In the bottom of a tagine, pressure cooker or large heavy pot, mix the chicken with the sliced onion, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ras el hanout, saffron, optional smen, and olive oil. Over medium heat, brown the chicken pieces, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
  • Add 6 cups of water to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue simmering until the chicken is cooked but not too tender to break apart — about 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken cuts.
  • The broth should cover the chicken, allowing ample sauce to cook the rice in and add to the Tfaya mix. Check the level of the broth and taste test it for salt, it should be slightly on the salty side which will adjust as the rice cooks in it and broadens.
  • Take out the chicken pieces from the tagine stock, place them on a lined oven tray and place them in the oven to roast until golden and crisp.
  • Add the washed and soaked rice and cook as per rice packet instructions replacing the water with the chicken tagine stock. Add more water if needed but check and adjust the seasoning to taste. (The exact time of cooking will depend on the type of rice you use.)

Tfaya Sauce

  • While the chicken is cooking, add the butter to melt in a large saucepan over low heat, then mix in the sliced onions and stir to prevent from sticking until they slightly soften.
  • Then add the raisins, sugar or honey, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and crumbled saffron threads. As the ingredients start to melt together gradually add 1/2 cup of water.
  • Cover the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 30 minutes or longer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden.
  • Once the onions are browned and cooked, reduce the liquids to a thick syrup and mix in 4 tablespoons of chicken broth from the tagine. Turn off the heat, and set the caramelized onions aside. You will need to reheat the onions just before serving.

Serving The Chicken Tagine

  • On a large platter or serving Tagine, serve a generous layer of rice to cover the base. Arrange the chicken pieces in the middle over the rice and then top with the Tfaya (caramelized onion and raisin sauce). Garnish with a sprinkle of fried almonds on top.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: Chicken, preserved lemon, rice, saffron

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