After months of pouring over cook books, experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients, and multiple visits to various ethnic grocers, I was ready to create my own tagine recipe. I wanted the recipe in include as many locally found ingredients as possible.
Lucky for me, new years organization started in my kitchen this year. This summer, a friend had given me a bag of Morel mushrooms he had locally foraged. This inspired me to dig further into my cabinets where I uncovered a bag of wild rice I had bought from a road side stand this summer. I also came found a handful of dried blackberries I bought at a farm in Bayfield. This was my first year buying meat in bulk from a local farm. The Preserved lemon and green olive tagine I made was wonderful, so I decided to use chicken thighs again. This time I trimmed the fat and skin from the thighs. Finally, I chose garlic wine from our local Crow River Winery as the sole seasoning for the dish. After gathering all the ingredients, the recipe just came together. The structure of the dish follows the techniques I have learned through creating other tagine recipes. It starts at the bottom and works its way up. It utilizes the versatility of a tagine for both stove top and oven cooking. I don’t usually measure, so here is roughly how I made my Minnesota Tagine:
4 chicken thighs (skinned and trimmed of any excess fat)
Handful Dried Morels
About a cup of Wild Rice (soaked in water from night before)
Handful dried blackberries
Crow River Garlic Wine (sip for you, and a splash for the tagine… repeat)
First I preheated my oven to 375. I set my tagine on my stove, coated with olive oil and seared the chicken on both sides at med-high heat(3-4 minutes each side). I added my chicken stock to the tagine, enough to almost cover the thighs.
I covered the tagine, and put into my oven for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile I steamed my wild rice in my Couscous steamer. Occasionally I would pour a little chicken stock over the top of the rice. After the 30 minutes, I removed the tagine from oven, and poured off most of the stock.
I then placed the tagine back on my stove top, added around 1/2 cup of garlic wine, morels, and simmered for another 10 minutes.
Last I added a splash of the cream and stirred in the berries. I replaced the lid on the tagine, and set on my table. The rice took a little longer than expected, but when we sat down to eat the chicken was still warm inside the tagine.
I would suggest making this recipe local to your area. Substitute a wine you can find locally. You could also go foraging for your own mushrooms and berries. If you don’t live in an area with wild rice, try using a locally grown vegetable as the side dish. There are so many benefits to finding substitutions locally. It is better for the environment, saves you time and money, and it is a great way to make a dish your own. How would you adapt this recipe to make it native to your area?