A continuation of cool food experiences in Marrakesh….see Part One!
Day #3 Tangine Cooking Course…. Urban Adventures is part of Intrepid Travel’s effort to bring city excursions to travelers looking for short break guides infused with cultural and experience. This tour entailed a guided market tour, complete with live chicken selection and killing:
resting in a local Riad
and whipping up a traditional tangine. All with an excellent guide.
The lemon chicken tangine is a wonderful, authentic recipe relying on cooking everything in a ceramic tangine pot (you can get them for $6 at any stall in Marrakesh). First, the chicken needs to be quartered. After slicing up an onion, you place the onion and chicken at the bottom of the tangine, and sprinkle with 1 tsp tumeric, ground pepper, cumin and ginger (each). Then add a nob of saffron if you have it. Cook the onions and chicken tangine on medium low heat for 15 minutes. While cooking, rinse a cup of green olives in boiling water and let set for 10 minutes (this releases some of the salt). Then flip the chicken over, add the olives in and the peel from one whole preserved lemon, and a good bit of water (1/3-1/2 a cup). This should cook for 30 minutes or so.
In the meantime, you can whip up a moroccan salad. Broil a few peppers, until the skins are crisp and blackened. Place in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to cool, before peeling, and chopping. Add chopped onion (1 whole onion) and about 5 chopped tomatoes. Mix. Then on top, mix in 1/2 tsp harissa, or if you don’t have that, paprika, then some 1/2 tsp curry, and 1/4 ginger. Add in 3 tbl of oil and mix. Throw in some fresh parsley…and fresh minced garlic. I LOVED THIS!
MY WORD. I do remember slopping up the chicken with my fingers, and pulling the meat off of the bones.
We finished our meal by nibbling on a few fresh plums, which the guide bought for us from a cart on the side of a very dusty and dirty path. They look so lovely and nourishing here….but most likely were the source of food poisoning that struck for the better part of three days that followed. Advice? Skip the fresh produce from the side of the road.
I made sure to nab a jar of preserved lemons…and ask our guide how to prepare them at home. Basically, they are pickled lemons Here is what you do…peel or unpeel around 6 lemons, score the top with a cross, almost like quartering them. Then cut down 3/4 of the way. Mix 1/2 Cup of Salt with the juice of 2 lemons. Slather this mixture in each of the crevices of each lemon. Pack them tightly in a jar, and squeeze lemon juice on top of the jar lid. Push the lemons a bit until their juices squirt out, and then sprinkle with salt. Screw the lid on tightly and set for a 4 weeks. Each week, open the lid, compress the juices to help them release some juices.
Preserved lemons are awesome in oatmeals, cookies, couscous, salads….And despite the food poisoning, I fondly remember this class, and will continue to patron Intrepid Travel. And plan to cook up lemon chicken tangine….although not anytime soon!