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Chicken & Apricot Tagine

In Morocco, they do a lot of belly-dancing. After you’ve tasted this little number, you’ll understand why – it’s delicious.

Serves 12

About 25 minutes to prepare and 2½ hours cooking

approx. 2kg skinless and boneless chicken, made up of a combination of thigh and breast

4 onions, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

100g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large pinches of saffron

2 tablespoons harissa paste

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 litres chicken stock

700g dried apricots

8 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

200g pitted green olives, halved

200g shelled unsalted pistachio nuts

2 bunches of coriander, chopped

Cut the chicken into large bite-sized chunks and split between two casserole dishes or one very large saucepan. Mix together the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, saffron and harissa paste and add to the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the stock.

Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook gently for about1½ hours. Now, don’t panic at this stage. . . the tagine won’t look very appealing!

You can leave the tagine to cool and keep in the fridge until the next day. If you are going to do that, just gently bring back up to a simmer before continuing.

Stir the apricots, tomatoes, olives and pistachios into the tagine and simmer, uncovered, for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour, in which time the sauce will have thickened nicely and the chicken will be wonderfully tender, breaking down into smaller pieces.

Taste the tagine for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if it is needed, and stir in the coriander. The tagine is now ready to serve with couscous.

PS . . . If you are cooking for fewer people, this recipe will easily scale down.

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