Fucking Bittman. I've got to hand it to that guy. I may not like everything he suggests, but every now and then he kills it. Plus dude is pretty entertaining in those videos he does on the NYT site. What I do like about his schtick is that his recipes are usually pretty straightforward and come together very easily. Even this tagine, with a relatively long list of ingredients, is incredibly simple to prep for. Literally about 15 minutes of chopping and measuring and I was good to go. And that's with bumping everything up by half 'cause I got screaming deal on chicken thighs at Costco (don't give me any shit, either. Oregon grown Foster Farms, no addtives, hormones, etc. Sure, the chicks live a bit "cozily", but even those supposedly PC "free range" birds at your organo-mart usually never leave the warehouse they're crammed into).
The end result was a palate popping, holy-Jesus-this-is-good plate of Moroccan influenced deliciousness. The spices were spot on, the chickpeas and bulgur become this decadent mush, and the chicken practically fell off the bone before being shoved in all its savory fabulousness into my mouth. In other words, this bird is the fucking word! Absolutely company worthy too, this one.
So if you have some friends who are deserving and need to be awed by your kitchen skills, throw some of this in front of them. It seems multiplying ingredients by the number of thighs you need to serve seems to do the trick. And that 4 serving thing below? Don't believe it unless you're serving a bunch of Karen Carpenter wannabes. This is so good it really makes 2 large servings because everyone will be back for seconds. Plan accordingly. Also, canned garbanzos were the deal, and use chicken stock, not water if you want the full flavor of this dish. You do like full flavor, right??
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Chickpea Tagine with Chicken and Bulgur
from "The Food Matters Cookbook"
makes: 4 servings
time: About 1 hours with cooked or canned beans, largely unattended
"Braise precooked (or canned) chickpeas and chicken in a North African spice mixture and the chickpeas disintegrate, the chicken becomes fork-tender, and everything is intensely flavored. It’s an extraordinary dish and made even more so by the bulgur, which is cooked right in the stewing liquid."- MB
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, with liquid reserved
2 cups bean-cooking liquid, stock, or water, or more as needed
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 bone-in chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon cumin
1-1⁄2 teaspoons coriander
1-1⁄2 teaspoons cinnamon
1⁄2 cup raisins, chopped dates, or currants
1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned are fine; include their juice)
1⁄2 cup bulgur
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Put the beans and the liquid in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Adjust the heat so the mixture barely bubbles.
2. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook, turning and rotating as necessary, until it’s brown on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot of beans.
3. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from the skillet. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, raisins, and tomato; cook and stir just long enough to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the mixture to the beans and adjust the heat so the mixture returns to a gentle bubble.
4. Cover the pot and cook, checking occasionally to make sure the mixture is bubbling gently, for 20 to 30 minutes. Stir the bulgur into the bottom of the pot; it should be covered with about 1 inch of liquid. If not, add more water. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and the bulgur is done, another 10 to 15 minutes. Serve each chicken thigh with a big spoonful of the chickpea mixture and garnish with parsley.