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"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.

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~ Julia Child

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Join me in Morocco?

So I will be upfront with you.  I have never been to Morocco!  I just happen to fall in love with a simple clay cooking vessel called a  Tagine.  To learn more see my first post about the tagine Maiden Voyage: Tagine 
There are many unique parts to this tagine dish.  The first is Preserved lemon.  You can purchase them online here preserved lemons it is just as easy to make them.  All you need is lemons, a jar and some kosher salt.  I will post how to do this soon.  The next unique ingredent is harissa.  A fiery past made from dried acho chillies.  Don't worry folks I have this recipe for you along with some fun photos too!


8 dried red chillies (ancho or New Mexico)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup olive oil

Put the chilies in a bowl and pour over enough water to cover them. Let them set for at least an hour.

Drain and squeeze out any excess water.
Using a motar and pestle, pound the chilies into a paste. Now I gotta be honest with y'all, this did not happen. I used a food processor for the chilies and the motar and pestle for the coriander.
  add the garlic and salt to this before placing into the food processor 
Beat in the cumin and coriander and bind with the olive oil
Store paste in a sealed jar in the fridge with a think layer of olive oil floating on top. It will keep for a month.  And let me tell you not a day longer!  

Okay so now what?  You have a jar of harissa what the heck do you do with it????
I chose an easy recipe from Tagine: Spicy stews from Morocco

Chicken tagine with harissa, artichokes and green grapes

4 chicken breasts cut into thick strips
2 table spoons olive oil
2 onions halved lengthwise and sliced with the grain 
1/2 preserved lemon cut into thin slices
1 teaspoon sugar
1-3 teaspoons of harissa paste (to your taste)
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or water
1 13 oz jar of artichoke hearts
rinsed and halved
about 16 green grapes halved
one bunch cilantro leaves chopped
(this is the part that I wish I would not have listened to the recipe, way, way too much cilantro for me)
sea salt and ground pepper

for the marinade
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil

First make the marinade, in a small bowl mix the garlic, turmeric, lemon juice and olive oil
cover and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight

Heat the oil in the tagine.  Add the onions, preserved lemon and sugar

I cut up the lemon very small
saute for 2-3 minutes until slightly caramelized.  Toss in the marinated chicken, then add the harissa and tomato pastes. 
Next add the chicken stock and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and let cook gently for 15 minutes
 toss in the artichoke hearts and cover for for another 5 minutes
Add the grapes and some of the cilantro and season to taste with the salt and pepper

Sprinkle with some cilantro to serve.  
Add your favorite couscous and enjoy!


  1. healthy delicious and colourful

  2. I have never been to Morocco either...but I dream of visiting soon! I love the flavors of the region, and this recipe looks delicious! I love the addition of the grapes.

  3. This is a lovely dish, can't wait to try this