Chicken Tagine with Tomato Jam

This is an usual chicken tagine that uses honey to bring out the flavour of tomatoes. The slow cooking process brings out the richness of the tomatoes as they reduce to a thick sauce and the use of honey right at the end will coat the whole dish in a sweet, sugary glaze.

Serves 6 people

2 chickens, cut up into 6 pieces each
2.25 kg (5 lbs) fresh ripe vine tomatoes
4 tablespoons thick, dark honey
1 medium onion, grated
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
pinch pulverised saffron
3 tablespoons freshly chopped green coriander
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tomato puree
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The day before, prepare the chicken marinade. 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, spices, salt and 1 clove of garlic into a marinade. Rub into the pieces of chicken and then refrigerate covered overnight.

At the same day, prepare the tomatoes. Bring 500 ml (1 pint) of water to the boil and drop the tomatoes in for 15 seconds. Remove and leave under running water to stop the tomatoes from cooking. Remove the stem and skin with a pairing knife and then cut into two crosswise and squeeze to remove the seeds. Chop coarsely and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, place the chicken with the marinade in a 5-quart deep casserole over medium heat and add the grated onion, coriander, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is browned. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, add the tomatoes and tomato puree and to the casserole and continue cooking until the chickens are very tender, nearly falling off the bone. Remove the chicken pieces from the casserole and keep warm.

Continue cooking the sauce over high heat until the water evaporates. At this point, the tomatoes will fry in the oil marinade and thicken considerably. Add the honey and the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes to bring out the flavours. Put the chicken pieces back into the sauce, turning them over to glaze evenly.

Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve at once.