Chicken Tagine for the Time Pressed

I’m not going to encourage you to whip this up on a work night. The prep takes about 45 minutes and is followed by 30 minutes of pressure-cooking time. But if you’re interested in making what tastes like a proper slow-cooked tagine — a spicy, complex North African-inspired stew with meat that’s moist and tender — in a fraction of the time it would normally take, I encourage you to try this. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, go ahead and simmer the stew on the stovetop in a heavy pot, covered, until the chicken is very tender, about an hour and a half.

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1 medium onion, very roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, very roughly chopped
1 bell pepper, very roughly chopped
2 carrots, very roughly chopped
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth or stock, divided
2 15.5-ounce cans of chickpeas, rinsed
8 dried figs, quartered
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed, and diced
½ cup pitted olives, such as calamata (green olives are good here too)
1 cup diced tomatoes
Chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds for garnish

1) Place the first five ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until medium-fine. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat and add the vegetables. Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, heat oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with the 5 spice, turmeric, cayenne, and salt and pepper and brown, in batches, until golden brown.

3) When all the chicken has browned, remove from pot and add the wine and one cup of the broth broth and scrape up all the brown bits stuck to the pot. Return chicken and add vegetable mixture, along with chickpeas, figs, preserved lemon, and olives.

4) Add remaining broth and the tomatoes, secure the lid, and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes. Turn off heat and let pressure subside naturally. When pressure has been released, remove lid, spoon chicken and sauce over rice, couscous, or quinoa and garnish with herbs and almonds.

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Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at, or on Twitter, @LifeDeathDinner

Chicken Tagine for the Time Pressed

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Chicken Tagine for the Time Pressed

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