At Le Sanglier Qui Fume restaurant, on a hairpin bend in the Atlas mountains, Madame’s chicken tagine was slightly different from others we had tasted; she added okra and plenty of her Hungarian paprika. Glossy and delicious, this is an approximation of it. It is not made in a pointed tagine, but if you have one it will look good as a serving dish. You will find preserved lemons in Middle Eastern grocers and delicatessens, though of course you may have prepared your own.
Pull the skin off the chicken joints and discard. Put the chicken into a large, heavy-based saucepan. Cut the red pepper in half, discard the seeds and stem, then slice lengthways into thin strips. Peel the garlic and ginger, slice both finely and put into the saucepan with the pepper strips, cinnamon, paprika and butter. Season with salt and black pepper.
Pour in the water, which should just cover the chicken. Put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer as gently as possible for about 40-50 minutes until the chicken is cooked and tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, garlic, ginger and pepper strips to a heated round serving dish, leaving the liquid in the pan. Quarter the preserved lemons, discard any pips, then place amongst the chicken. Cover the dish loosely and keep warm in a very low oven.
Trim the tops off the okra and then add to a saucepan of boiling salted water. Cook for about 3 minutes until the okra is just soft but still bright green. Drain and keep warm, on one side.
Add the lemon juice and honey to the reserved chicken cooking liquor in the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the honey, then boil fiercely, without stirring, for about 10 minutes until the sauce is well reduced and syrupy. Take off the heat and stir in the chilli powder.
Take the dish of chicken from the oven and stir in the cooked okra. Finally spoon the glossy sauce all over and serve at once.
© 2010 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.