I love discovering new cookbooks and recipes. Recently, my sister lent me her new cookbook called Balaboosta, by Einat Admony, who owns with her husband, the restaurant of the same name in New York City. Balaboosta is a Yiddish term denoting the perfect homemaker, wife, mother and cook. That should conjure up the aromas and delicacies at their Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant plus the recipes shared in the cookbook.
Because I have recently returned from Morocco, you can imagine which recipes I was drawn to first. And when my sister arrived for dinner, I cooked for her (and 9 other people) my edited version of the Spicy Chicken Tagine.
The ingredients are fresh and aromatic; leeks, whole fennel bulbs, orange, fresh mint and garlic, supplemented with harissa, turmeric, cumin and paprika. What a colourful palette.
And one preserved lemon, store-bought at a middle eastern supermarket or homemade (see Preserved Lemons) posted earlier.
Ingredients are all prepared and ready to go. Just have to get some orange juice and chicken stock ready.
Oh, the golden hue of the juice, stock and spices.
Add the rest of the ingredients and then some seasoned, skinless, bone-in chicken pieces.
I cooked the tagine for about 3 hours. The chicken was so tender, no knives were necessary. I proudly call myself a balaboosta!
Spicy Chicken Tagine
4 chicken thighs, 4 chicken breasts, halved, skinless but bone-in
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2-3 tbsp. harissa (if you don’t like things too spicy, limit to 2)
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 preserved lemon, cut into small wedges
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
2 leeks, light green and white parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into pieces, divided in two parts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Slice the ends off the orange and stand the fruit on one flat end. slice off the orange peel with as little of the white pith as possible and put aside.
- Squeeze juice from the orange; you should get about 1/4 cup — top up to one cup with extra store-bought orange juice.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper.
- Put the chicken stock, orange juice, harissa, paprika, cumin and turmeric into a large Dutch oven. Mix well. Put in preserved lemon, orange peel, garlic cloves, fennel, leeks, and 1/2 the mint. Add the chicken pieces and toss everything together until well coated.
- Cook covered for 1 1/2 hours. Turn chicken pieces over and mix again and cook for another hour.
- Remove the lid and bring the pot to the table and sprinkle remaining mint leaves on top. The chicken meat will just fall from the bone. Serve with wedges of crusty bread.
I’m sure you will get the same rave reviews as I did. Enjoy.