I thank my lucky stars every day that I married a man who loves to cook. But Owen doesn’t just love to cook: he boldly creates healthy (most of the time), inspired meals that tickle the tongue and fill the belly. Would you like braised lamb in a blue cheese and cherry sauce over egg noodles, or how about homemade duck confit? What about baked and butterflied coconut shrimp (with a healthy twist)? Yes, please to all of it- at the same time. He cooks and I eat; it’s a beautiful thing really.
One day about 5 years ago Owen and I were out on a walk at the dog park and he abruptly announced, “I want a tagine.” The following conversation ensued…
Kass- But of course, who doesn’t?… But what exactly IS a tagine?
O– I want to make Moroccan food. It is a…
Kass- (with a hint of sarcasm and cutting O off) Because obviously we should be eating Moroccan food!
O– Exactly my point. The tagine is how Moroccan people cook their food. It’s basically a ceramic dutch oven with a lid. When you cook food in it it becomes incredibly tender and moist- kind of like when I make the braised lamb.
Kass- Say no more! Done! Sold!! If you promise to cook me Moroccan food, I will buy it!!
And that my friends is how I started to eat Moroccan food. Incredibly random, but true. Owen has made enough outstanding meals out of the random odds and ends in our fridge that I have learned to trust and eat whatever he wants to cook :).
The first Moroccan meal he made me was a chicken, preserved lemons and artichoke dish (his recipe is below).The preserved lemons bring a powerful citrus flavor to the dish that when combined with the earthy, gentle sweetness of the artichokes and melt-in-your-mouth chicken breasts truly come together to make an amazing meal. I often serve it with quinoa for added texture.
*Owen and I made this last week as part of our summer challenge to get through extra ingredients in our pantry. We used up a bag of frozen artichokes- win!
Put the following mixture into a large canning jar:
Eight lemons, sliced from the top in quarters 80% of the way to the bottom. Remove as many seeds as possible. Pack the inside of the lemon with sea salt (make sure that you don’t have any cuts) and put them into the sterilized canning jar. Squeeze fresh lemons into the jar to fill with liquid and then let sit. The lemons need to sit for a minimum of 3 months. Once the lemons have been preserved over the 3 month span you can remove one lemon at a time and use some of the liquid in your recipes as well.
OR you can simply buy a can of preserved lemons from Trader Joes (pictured below).
Moroccan preserved lemon chicken and artichoke dish
This dish is intended to be made in a Moroccan tagine; if you don’t own one then you can absolutely use any Dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid that you can both cook on the stove top and then put into the oven.
Ingredients (makes enough for 4 people)
3 Chicken Breasts
2 cans artichoke hearts or 1 bag frozen artichokes
2 Cups chicken broth
1 preserved lemon (remove the center and juice it and finely chop the remaining peel)
¾ inch of fresh ginger, ground
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
1 bunch of fresh cilantro tied so it can be easily removed
1 bunch of fresh Italian parsley tied so it can be easily removed
Finely chopped 1 ½ white or yellow onions
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 TBSP butter
¼ cup fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions until soft. Add the paprika, garlic, and thinly cut chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to sauté pan and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes.
Transfer mixture from saute pan into tagine (or dutch oven or another oven-safe baking pot with a lid). Bake for 55 minutes at 375 degrees.
Serve over freshly made quinoa with fresh cilantro for garnish.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as Owen and I do!!