Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

Chicken tagine with chickpeas is a famous dish in the Moroccan repertoire, bright yellow, fragrant and sweet with a spicy-sharp ginger flavour.

Serves 6 people

2 chickens, cut up into 6 pieces each
450 g (1 lb) dried chick peas
80 g (2 ½ oz) black raisins
1 medium onion, finely sliced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crashed
90 g (3 oz) spring onions, chopped
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
pinch pulverised saffron
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
80 g (2 ½ oz) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

The day before, prepare the chicken and chickpeas. Wash the chicken in salted water and drain. Crash 4 cloves of garlic and make into a paste with 2 tablespoons of salt. Rub into the chicken and then rinse under running water until the chicken no longer smells of garlic. Drain and set aside. Using a blender, combine the oil, ginger, salt, pepper and the remaining garlic into a marinade. Rub into the pieces of chicken and then refrigerate covered overnight. Soak the dried chickpeas in water and cover overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas and cook covered in a saucepan for 1 hour. Drain, place in a bowl and cover with fresh water. Rub the chickpeas to remove the skin. Drain, discarding the skins.

Place the chicken and the marinade in a 5-quart deep casserole over medium heat and add the butter, spring onion, pinch of saffron, turmeric, cinnamon stick and parsley and cook until the chicken is browned. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes – until the chicken is tender. Turn the meat often and add water whenever necessary.

After 30 minutes, add the chickpeas, finely-sliced onions and raisins to the casserole and continue cooking until the chickens are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, and the sauce is thick. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add a pinch of saffron for a brighter yellow colour.

To serve, arrange the meat on the serving dish, and spoon over the thick onion-chick pea-raisin sauce. Serve with plenty of Moroccan bread.