Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs

Apologize to my mule

Over the last year kiddo's taste in foods has expanded much to my delight. I have clung to the words of the therapists from the feeding clinics who told me that it can take 15-20 times for a kid to be exposed to a certain taste and texture before they will be accepting of it. 

With that in mind, I give you sweet potatoes. I have been pushing sweet potatoes in front of kiddo for ten years. TEN YEARS people! About two months ago I made a dish that became part of our dinner menu cycle because kiddo just raved about it so much, he even asked for seconds. 

Bear in mind, when I started to plate this meal I took MacLeod aside and told him that this meal was going to be rough and to expect the worst because there were about a million textures going on in this middle eastern style dish I was about to put down in front of the kids. 

Fist Full of Dollars 1964, Clint Eastwood's Stranger
I put the plate down. Kiddo looked at his plate. His nose twitched, he looked up at me. He had a Lego flag post in the corner of his mouth, gnawing on it, one eye cocked slightly. Kiddo, the ever present Stranger eyed us as if we were two Mexican banditos, as we tried to maintain dinner control he sniffed the plate and took a small bite. He didn't spit it out, but finished the rest of the bite on the spoon. We sat down cautiously, he watched us settle into our chairs. We ate our food and watched as he ate each and every bite of food on his plate. When he finished he asked for more chicken, the Stranger gets what the Stranger wants. 

When figs became available I modified the recipe a bit and made it pretty delectable, to the Stranger's dismay, he hates figs. Alas, the rest of the dish he loves, especially the sweet potatoes. 

Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs

3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
2 lbs. russet potatoes
1 Tbs toasted cumin
2 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper, divided
2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
4 C chicken stock
6-8 fresh figs, cut from stem to base in quarters
1- 14 oz. can tomato sauce (you can use whole or diced, kiddo HATES tomatoes though!)
1/2 C raisins

1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 tsp of ground pepper.

 2. In a dutch oven over medium high heat, add oil and chicken. Cook the chicken until it is golden on all sides and remove from the pan. 

3. Add onion, garlic, sweet potato and potato and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. 

4. Return chicken back to the pan and add following 9 ingredients (all spices) and cook another 2 minutes. 

5. Add chicken stock, fig, tomato sauce and raisins, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Try not to open the pan while the tagine is simmering, its worth the wait!

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