Saturday, May 30, 2009
Walima Cooking Challenge: Tagine Djeij Bil Zeytoun (طاجن الدجاج بالزيتون)
The May 2009, Challenge is brought to us by Khadidja Zehani from www.dessert-world.blogspot.com. Khadidja worked on two recipes to give us two choices. One for a wonderful savoury dish and one for outstanding dessert….
This is an Algerian dish. Here's a site that describes the wonderful flavors and aromas and origins of the Algerian Cuisine: http://www.algeria.com/cuisine/
I am not very talented when it comes to desserts, I admit that, but I am working on it ;) Therefore I chose the savoury this time.
Here are the ingredients as given:
Tajine Zitoun (Olives Tajine)
This dish could be made with chicken or lamb or both. I personally mix the two meats in the same dish
This recipe has some added meat balls and this is optional. If not using both meats, keep the exact same recipe.
1 whole chicken cut into pieces
2 lbs of lamb
1 large onion
1 Tbsp butter or oil
2 cups pitted green olives
2 medium carrots, cut into circles
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chicken cube
Meat balls (optional)
1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion
1 small egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Flour to dredge the meat balls
To thicken the sauce:
1 Tbsp soft butter
2 tbsp flour
1- In a pot / pressure cooker put the butter /oil, chicken pieces, lamb pieces (if using), the onion, salt, pepper cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the onions
are translucent. Add the chicken cube and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook until the meat is tender. If using both meats, half way through cooking, remove the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the lamb is tender.
2 - In a sauce pan, put the olives and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the olives boil for 3 to 5 mn. Drain and repeat the same process 2 to 3 times until the olives are no longer bitter.They should not be too salty neither. Set the olives aside.
3- Prepare the meat balls: mix all the ingredients and make balls. Put about 1/2 in of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Dredge each meat ball in flour and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
4- Once the meat pieces are cooked, add the olives, the sliced carrots and the meat balls. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and cook until the carrots and the olives are tender, and the meat balls are cooked through.
5-To finish the dish, mix the butter and flour to form a smooth paste. Bring the sauce to a boil and gradually add the butter/ flour mixture, stirring continuously. Let the sauce boil for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish accompanied with lemon wedges.
Ok, now here's what I changed a bit only because it's the first time I cook this kind of tajine and I was afraid to ruin it.
While the chicken was cooking I added few fresh thyme stems from my garden ;), a couple of bay leaves and some cardamom. I did not use lamb, but I still added the meatballs. Since I added some butter and oil at the beginning, I did not make the paste with flour and butter, just added flour. What I can say about this dish is that the flavor is really good and tangy specially with the lemon wedges. I ate twice from it after I cooked it. I had it with some pita bread. Oh it was so good! Thank you Khadija! Congratulations for all the Walima Club members for making this happen and thanks to Arlette who came up with the idea and made it happen too by gathering us all. Cheers everybody!