So I must admit, when some dear friends of mine gave me one of these for my birthday, my first thought was: “Now where the hell am I going to put this thing?” Fortunately, my second thought was “I wonder what I can make in this!”
A tajine is a glazed earthenware pot from North Africa used to make slow-cooked meat stews and other delicacies from the region. Steam condenses in the conical lid, retaining moisture steady heat as the food slowly simmers for several hours. The low, indirect heat produces meltingly tender meats and vegetables infused with rich flavors and aromas.
My new tajine is a modern version that can be used stove-top or in the oven, and I immediately started experimenting with it. The first thing I discovered is that it is perfect for making caramelized onions. The second thing I discovered was that suddenly I only wanted to make recipes I could cook in a tajine. However, though I highly recommend it, you don’t have to go out and buy a tajine to make this recipe, any heavy dutch-oven with a tight-fitting lid will work.
I even found a place to keep my new kitchen addition, though I’m keeping him far away from my other cookware. I’ve seen the way my frying pan looks at him and I don’t like it one bit.
Note: Speaking of over-population, my kitchen is currently hosting another new-entry. Bosch sent me a new machine, the Mum5, to try out and with which to create a few recipes for the blog. There are 10 bloggers participating in this initiative, you can find out more here: www.blogmymum.com
Braised Chicken with Caramelized Onions, Olives and Apples
- 1 Tbsp / 15 g butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 apples, preferably Gala (3/4 lb / 340 g total), cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
- 1 handful of small black olives
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
- 3 lbs chicken parts, with skin and bones intact (I used breast meat here, but I think it would be better with thighs and drumsticks)
- 1/2 cup of beer
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat a butter and olive oil in a tajine or heavy dutch oven over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken for 10 to 12 minutes total, starting with skin sides down and flipping once. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving the cooking juices in the pot.
Add onions to the skillet over high heat and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, then reduce heat to minimum, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a teaspoon of water if the onions dry out and begin sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Raise heat to medium high and add apples, olives and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are browned, about 5 minutes.
Return chicken, skin sides up, to pan along with any juices accumulated on plate. Add beer, vinegar, and sage and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced, 20 to 25 minutes, adding more beer if necessary. If the sauce remains too liquid, turn heat to high and boil uncovered briefly until reaching desired consistency.