Sunday Tagine

Chickpea and chorizo tagine with bay leaves, paprika and sage

This is a classic, Spanish-influenced peasant dish, which is often eaten on its own with yoghurt and bread, but is also served with grilled or roasted meats, such as lamb chops. Either chorizo or Moroccan merguez sausages can be used, as both impart their spicy flavours to the dish. For a meatless version, just omit the sausage, as the chickpeas are extremely tasty on their own

  • 175 g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of water
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red onions, cut in half lengthways, halved crossways, and sliced with the grain
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 thin chorizo, roughly 15 cm long, sliced on the diagonal, or 450 g merguez sausages
  • 2–3 fresh bay leaves
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1–2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika (pimentòn)
  • leaves from a small bunch of fresh sage, shredded
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • warmed flat breads and natural yoghurt, to serve

Serves 4

Drain the chickpeas, put them in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for roughly 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft but still have a bite to them. Drain well and refresh under cold running water. Remove any loose skins and discard them.
Heat the olive oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Stir in the onions and garlic and sauté until they begin to colour.

Add the chorizo, bay leaves and thyme and sauté until lightly browned. Toss in the chickpeas, add the paprika and cover with a lid. Cook gently for 10–15 minutes, to allow the flavours to mingle.
Add in the sage leaves and lemon juice and gently toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot with warmed flat breads and natural yoghurt.

Chorizo tagine with lentils and fenugreek

This is very simple yet delicious peasant food. Prepared with locally-cured, spicy Moroccan merguez sausages or chorizo and lentils or beans, it is a satisfying dish, best served with flat breads and a generous dollop of creamy yoghurt.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 450 g chorizo or merguez sausage, thickly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • 225 g brown lentils
  • 400-g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • leaves from a bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped (reserve some to garnish)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • warmed flat breads and natural yoghurt, to serve

Serves 4–6

Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Add the onions and garlic and saute until they begin to colour. Toss in the chorizo slices and saute for 1–2 minutes just to flavour the oil. Stir in the turmeric and fenugreek and add the lentils, making sure they are well coated with the spices.
Add the tomatoes with the sugar and pour in enough water to cover the lentils by 2.5 cm. Bring the liquid to the boil, reduce the heat, put on the lid and cook gently for about 25 minutes, adding more water if necessary, until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
Toss in the coriander and season to taste with salt and pepper. Scatter the rest of the coriander over the top and serve with warmed flat breads and natural yoghurt.

Chicken and duck tagines

Chicken tagine with preserved lemon, green olives and thyme
Preserved lemon and cracked green olives are two of the principal ingredients of traditional Moroccan cooking. You can buy the olives at Middle Eastern and North African stores and some delicatessens. The tagine can be made with chicken joints or a whole chicken. Serve with Plain, Buttery couscous and a leafy salad or steamed carrots tossed with fresh mint.

  • 8–10 chicken thighs or 4 whole legs
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or 1 tablespoon olive oil plus a knob of butter
  • 2 preserved lemons , cut into strips
  • 175 g cracked green olives
  • 1–2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
  • Plain, Buttery Couscous, to serve
  • For the marinade:
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 25 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • leaves from a small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 3–4 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

First make the marinade. Mix together all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the chicken thighs or legs in a shallow dish and coat them in the marinade, rubbing it into the skin. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours.
Heat the olive oil with the butter in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and brown them in the oil. Pour over the marinade that is left in the dish and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the chicken pieces. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, turning