Home for the Holidays 2003

See Also

The Chef
Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin

Serves 4

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large chicken, cut into eight pieces
Fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder (optional)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or powder
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon, rind only, flesh discarded (available from Kalustyan’s, 123 Lexington Avenue, near 28th Street or Dean & Deluca, 560 Broadway, at Prince Street)
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 prune plums, quartered and stones removed
1 ½ cups chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons almond slivers, toasted

Cooking Instructions
Place a tagine (or large heavy-bottomed casserole) at least 10 inches in diameter over high heat, and add the oil. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, place the chicken pieces skin-side-down in the pot. When the oil starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon each of the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder (if using) over the chicken. Cook until the chicken is golden brown, about 15 minutes. (Check regularly to make sure that the chicken is not sticking to the pan.)

Spread the onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes on a cutting board, and season generously with the salt and pepper. Add them to the tagine, covering the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder. Add the lemon rind and chicken stock, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the plums and cook for a further 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. (It may take a little longer if you’re using a tagine.)

To serve, place about ½ cup of couscous on each plate, top with a few pieces of chicken, and spoon some cooking liquid and vegetables over each plate. Garnish with almond slivers.

Recommended Wines
Bordeaux, such as Château L’Angelus; Côte du Rhône, such as La Bernardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape; or Syrah, such as Araujo.

Best With
Suggested menu: Selection of meze including baba ghannouj, hummus, grape leaves stuffed with rice, tabbouleh, red-pepper confit with capers, Greek salad; Chicken tagine with plum and spices; Couscous; Selection of cheese; Chocolate dessert.

Photograph by William Meppem