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A recipe for chicken tagine with Moroccan spices

ras el hanoutIts no secret that we love spices at Kahina. Our Fez scent blends notes of vetiver and orange blossom with clove and cumin for a warm and spicy fragrance. Of course, we love to cook with them as well and I always make a point of bringing home bags full of the tradional ras el hanout spice that marks Moroccan cuisine when I’m in Morocco. There, vendors of ras el hanout proudly boast up to 35 spices in their personal blends. You can find Ras el Hanout in spice markets and online. Here’s an easy chicken tagine recipe from contemporary Moroccan chef Mourad Lahlou. YIELD: Makes 6 servings INGREDIENTS 6 whole chicken leg-thigh pieces (about 4 1/2 pounds total) 1 tablespoon salt plus additional for seasoning 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 12 baby carrots, peeled 1 cup shallots, peeled, halved (about 4 large) 3 garlic cloves, peeled 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme plus additional for garnish 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel 2 tablespoons ras-el-hanout 3 cups low-salt chicken broth 3/4 cup dry white wine 14 brown Turkey figs, halved 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar Couscous (prepared according to package directions) PREPARATION Arrange chicken on rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle each side of each piece with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer chicken to skillet and sear until golden, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to heavy roasting pan, skin side up. Add carrots, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon thyme, lemon peel, ras-el-hanout, chicken broth, white wine, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Bring to boil, whisking up brown bits. Pour mixture over chicken in roasting pan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover with foil; place in oven. Braise 1 hour, until tender. Transfer chicken, carrots, and shallots to baking sheet; discard garlic. Pour pan juices into large saucepan. Spoon off fat from surface. Boil juices until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, whisking occasionally, about 18 minutes. Add figs and vinegar; cook until figs are just heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place cooked couscous on large plate. Top with chicken, vegetables, and figs. Spoon sauce over chicken and figs. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.
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