Do you have any snow on the ground? We had a fantastic snow day yesterday! I read that Boulder’s 16+ inches in yesterday’s storm is more than the average snow for the month. I was so distracted by the sledding, matinees, and requests for banana cream pie, that I forgot to post. And I think Sarah’s off taking photos of staircases and doorways, so who knows when we’ll hear from here again ;-)? Anyway, today we’re sharing an amazing use for vanilla, and I really hope you’ll give it a try.
When we picked vanilla as the ingredient of the season. I knew I wanted to experiment with some savory dishes. That said, I didn’t have anything in particular in mind, and never in my wildest dreams did I see this savory roasted chicken on the horizon! We eat a lot of roasted chicken, and I’ve become so partial to our chicken with the flavors of preserved lemon and olives, but this dish is far on the other end of the spectrum. The flavors are more subtle, of course there’s the vanilla, but there’s also a mild nutty-ness from the browned butter. It’s a nice compliment to our repertoire of chicken dishes.
If there’s one thing making this chicken with preserved lemons dish confirmed, it’s that Calder and I fall hard for main dishes with a mix strong flavors. For example, this dish calls for fresh and preserved lemons, fresh ginger, garlic, onions, olives, and cilantro (wow!). I would never dream of putting that many flavors together on my own, and I wouldn’t have the confidence to assume that they would go well with chicken. BUT when flipping through cookbooks, that’s just the sort of edgy combination that jumps out and gets me excited to try a new recipe. Such was the scene last week when I pulled our Tagines & Couscous cookbook off the shelf.
Stop. Do you know what a tagine (also spelled tajine) is? It was only in the past few years that I learned, and then we received a beautiful tagine as a wedding gift. A tagine is a piece of cookware from North Africa that’s made of clay and is sometimes glazed or painted. It’s made of two pieces, the bottom is flat with low sides, the top is cone-shaped. The top’s shape is meant to allow condensation to form and drip back down into the bottom of the dish. While tagines are traditionally used to cook over hot coals, they can also be used on traditional stovetops and in the ovens.
Funny thing – ours is so beautiful that I still haven’t gotten up the courage to actually use it. I’m scared it’ll break! Luckily, even if you don’t have a tagine, you can still make many of the recipes that call for them using a heavy-bottomed pot, like a dutch oven. That’s what I did for this dish.