Thursday, January 8, 2009
We’ve been playing with our Christmas presents, and there were plenty of kitchen toys under our tree. Some have been easier than others to figure out. My Mom, the gadget queen, gave the Kitchen Genius a silicone tagine this year.
A what? you might ask. Or maybe that was just my response when she asked me if he had one. Perhaps you all know what a tagine is, but for those like me who didn’t, it’s a flat dish with a cone-style top that is used in Moroccan cooking. Tagine also refers to the dishes one makes in this little pot.
There are lovely (and pricey) clay and ceramic tagines for true aficionados, but I’m not ready to invest in that kind of fun quite yet because I’m still struggling with the silicone one.
It came with a little booklet with sparse directions and six recipes – in seven languages. Lamb and veal with spices like ginger and coriander figure prominently in the recipes, but there was one for chicken with lemon and ginger that sounded tasty and doable.
Since this was a whole new experience I followed the recipe EXACTLY, instead of my usual creative approach. I sliced the lemon very thin for the first layer and put the browned chicken on top.
I topped it with chopped onion and layered in ground cumin, thyme and ground star anise where indicated and topped it off with chicken stock.
Even though I couldn’t believe this rubbery contraption should actually go in the oven, I gingerly slid it in and set the timer, praying it wouldn’t melt and ruin my stove – or worse burn down the house.
When the timer went off, I took the still intact tagine out of the oven. The chicken was cooked and there was quite a lot of broth. Since I made rice to go along with the dish, I thought it would be nice to thicken the juice a bit. I made a slurry of corn starch and water, but just before I made the sauce I decided to taste the juice to see if it needed any seasoning.
I almost gagged. Even though it was attractive, the juice tasted like vomit. I know that is not a word you want to see on a cooking blog, but there is no other accurate description for the sourness of that flavor.
So, I’m not posting that recipe because I hope NO ONE ever makes it again. I even called my mother right up (because she bought the same tagine for herself) to warn her to NEVER try that recipe.
On the bright side we have had really good luck cooking vegetables in the tagine in the microwave. We sliced some carrots, tossed them with butter, salt and pepper, and voila, four minutes later they were a delicious side dish. Green beans tossed with a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic were also yummy.
I’m not ready to give up on this little tagine, so if anyone has any suggestions for recipes, please let me know.