How to Make a Quick, Easy, Homemade Tajine and Pair with Bordeaux Wine
October 29, 2017

How to Make a Quick, Easy, Homemade Tajine and Pair with Bordeaux Wine

North African cuisine calls to mind crowded outdoor markets with hawkers crying out their wares, brightly hued bins of exotic spices, mint tea, and sweet, intoxicating scents that you can’t quite place no matter how hard you try. In the Maghreb or Barbary Coast (essentially the entirety of North Africa west of Egypt), one of the best-known specialties is the tajine, a famous and tantalizingly delicious delicacy that shares a name with its own cooking instrument: an unusually shaped earthenware pot, and you can pair it easily with a Bordeaux wine ! Yes you will love it.

Tajines are an ancient casserole dating back to at least the 8th or 9th century (we know this because they’re mentioned in A Thousand One Nights, which was written during that era). Over time, dried fruits like apricots and dates were added to tajines by nomadic Bedouin tribes, providing the distinct flavors we now consider integral to the dish.

Today we’ll be walking you through a simple recipe for delicious savory-sweet chicken tajine that’s sure to spice up any dinner party. First, mix onion, garlic, cilantro, and parsley with olive oil, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper. Coat your chicken (dark meat works best here but you can use whatever parts of the chicken you want) thoroughly with this mixture, cover, and marinate for a few hours or ideally overnight.

Next, brown the chicken in a frying pan and set aside. Put more olive oil, garlic, onion, and ginger into a tagine with the browned chicken pieces. Heat saffron separately and sprinkle over your chicken along with ground black pepper and cinnamon. Add chopped fresh cilantro and parsley, a bouillon cube and a splash or two of water, and bake covered for about an hour.  

In a separate pan, cover dried prunes (you can substitute apricots here if you don’t like or can’t find prunes) in water and boil. Reduce heat, add sugar and cinnamon, and simmer until the fruit is caramelized. When your tajine is fully cooked, serve over couscous and top with your caramelized fruit and a handful of slivered almonds.

The classic wine pairing for a chicken tajine would be a red wine from the Haut Medoc. Haut Medoc reds are full-bodied with low acidity and high tannin levels, meaning they’re an ideal companion for a richly spiced savory-sweet tajine. For something a bit more original, however, you should consider pairing your tajine with a rosé. Bordeaux rosés are complex wines that often exhibit flavors of citrus, candied fruit, and spices: the perfect match for the ginger, cinnamon, prunes, and lemon of your tajine!


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