This healthy dish features succulent meat served in a flavoursome, slightly sweet sauce. Cooking the chicken pieces (a good source of low-fat protein) slowly with plenty of spices, helps to ensure that the meat becomes really tender, without adding any fat.
Tagines are a particularly good thing to cook when catering to large numbers of people. Although they can require more ingredients, the amount of work that goes into the dish is really quite minimal, and once the chicken and spices are simmering away in the pan, they just need to be stirred occasionally.
This north African favourite also provides a good opportunity for adding stealth vegetables; even those that profess to hate tomatoes, carrots or onions are unlikely to be able to detect them once they've been amalgamated into the sauce.
The couscous accompaniment is not only healthy, but full of clean, zesty flavour, as well as being filling, low in fat and very versatile. Serve the recipe below as a light meal meal on its own or take it to work. Possible additions include some crumbled feta or roasted halloumi.
Chicken tagine (Serves 4)
800g skinless chicken, diced
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
30g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp olive oil
1.2 litres chicken stock
125g dried apricots
4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 bunch coriander, leaves picked and chopped
For the couscous:
425ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 pomegranate, seeds and juice
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1 bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
4 radish, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp caster sugar
salt and black pepper
Tip the chicken into a large bowl, add the onion, garlic, ginger, the spices and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir together until really well combined. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large pan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the chicken mixture, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Pour over the stock and bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and leave to cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the dried apricots, prunes, tomatoes and carrots, stir well and continue to simmer, uncovered for another hour - the sauce will thicken and start to smell really aromatic and the chicken will become very tender. Taste to check the seasoning and stir in the coriander just before serving. While the tagine is cooking, tip the couscous into a bowl, pour over the hot stock, cover with a lid and leave to stand for five minutes or until you are ready to use. Fluff up with a fork. Add the pomegranate seeds, spring onion, mint and radish and stir well. Whisk together the reserved pomegranate juice, olive oil and caster sugar and season with salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the couscous and mix well.
Nutritional information for average serving (234.3g) chicken tagine:
Calories from fat: 68
Total fat: 7.6g
Saturated fat: 1.5g