Oops. I meant not your mother's cuisine (unless she happens to be Moroccan, that is). For many, the term tagine musters up mystery, desert dunes, endless blue skies, and exotic spices in some souk. And yes, it's exotic to most American palates, but it's also about the easiest dinner party dish ever.
Now, while you can use any heavy deep skillet with a lid to made a simply fabulous tagine, there's something pretty magical about using the actual instrument of stewing perfection. This tagine, for instance, is made by the venerable Emile Henry. It's a super heavy earthen ware cooking vessel that can handle stovetop or oven with equal aplomb (and the wonderful conical shape allows for ideal moisture circulation, because a dry tagine is a crime). Plus, it's such a fashionable saffron yellow hue. Make a little pilaf or couscous, and you're ready to serve. Easy!
This would make a great wedding gift. Find it at www.cooking.com. They'll all scream for tagine.
For sure fire tagineing, try my non-controversial recipe below.
3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves, each cut in half
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
5 teaspoons olive oil
2 chopped garlic cloves
Juice of two lemons
plenty of salt
Combine all of these things in a large zip lock bag to marinate overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
The next day...
3 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 preserved lemon, skin only, rinsed and chopped finely
1/2 cup chicken broth
Chicken in the bag
reserved marinade from chicken in the bag
Over high heat, brown the chicken in the tagine. Set aside. Heat olive oil and add onions, cook until translucent. Add marinade, olives, broth and chicken to tagine. Cover, turn to heat to low, and cook for one hour. After the hour has passed, add chopped preserved lemon. Cook another 20 minutes or so (enough to prepare your pilaf or couscous), and serve.
You probably won't need salt, since the olives and preserved lemon are both salty.