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Turkey Market Tagine

Turkey Market Tagine

Autumn 2021

By: Monda Rosenberg

My most lasting memory of the tagines I had in Morocco is their luxurious saffron-flavoured broth. In this tagine, the saffron-spiked broth is a backdrop for peak-season market-fresh produce. The addition of turkey makes it a welcome departure from the expected Thanksgiving fare. It’s best served over rice or couscous for soaking up all the precious broth.

Serves 6

3 small red onions
4 large carrots, peeled
1 large fennel bulb, about
1 lb (455 g)
2 lbs (905 g) skinless boneless turkey breast
Olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) each cumin and sweet or smoked paprika, divided
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) salt, divided
1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth
1 tsp (5 mL) each ground coriander and cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) saffron threads
2 ripe pears, peeled
1 cup (250 mL) olives, such as Kalamata
Cooked rice or couscous
Freshly chopped mint or cilantro

1. Peel onions and trim root ends. Slice each onion through the stem end into 6 wedges. Set aside. Slice carrots lengthwise in half or quarters, depending on their size, then into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. They should measure about 1 1/2 cups (375 mL). Turn into a big bowl. Trim fronds and thick stem end from fennel. Remove any tough outer layers. Slice fennel in half through the stem end, then into 1/2-inch (1-cm) wedges. Cut wedges in half crosswise and separate layers. They should measure about 4 cups (1 L). Add to carrots.

2. Slice turkey into pieces, each about half the size of a chicken thigh. If any pieces are more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, slice them in half or slash them into the thick areas and open them up like a book. Brush pieces all over with oil and set on a plate. In a small bowl, stir 1 tsp (5 mL) each cumin and paprika with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt. Sprinkle half over turkey. Brush to evenly distribute. Then turn the turkey over and sprinkle with the remaining mixture. Brush again.

3. Coat a large wide saucepan with oil. Set over medium heat. Fry turkey in batches, about 3 minutes a side, to lightly brown. Remove to a container, cover and refrigerate until vegetables have simmered 30 minutes.

4. Coat pan with more oil, if needed. Add onions and stir often over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth. Scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium. Add carrots and fennel. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) of each cumin and paprika with coriander, cinnamon and remaining salt. Sprinkle over vegetables while stirring. Cover, and when vegetables come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, as soon as vegetables are simmering, sprinkle saffron into 1 cup (250 mL) hot, but not boiling, water and set aside to add to tagine later.

6. After vegetables have been simmering for 30 minutes, stir in turkey and collected juices. Cover and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until turkey is done about 30 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, core pears and cut into chunks. When turkey is done, stir pears and olives into the tagine. Pour in saffron water. Cover and simmer until pears are warm, about 5 minutes. Spoon over rice in individual bowls. Generously sprinkle with freshly chopped mint.

Serves 6

TIPS

+ If you prefer chicken over turkey, use about 2‑lbs (905 g) skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each, or skinless boneless thighs, cut in half.

+ For a heartier version, pick up 4 sausages, such as Oktoberfest, at the market. Slice into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. Begin tagine by browning sausages in the oiled pan. Remove and brown turkey. Refrigerate sausages with browned turkey until vegetables have simmered for 30 minutes. Then add sausage, turkey and collected juices to the vegetable mixture.

+ To make ahead, prepare tagine to the end of step 6. Pour in the saffron water, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat, cover and stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Then stir in pears and olives and heat through.


What to Serve

  1. Tawse Sketches of Niagara Rosé
    750 ml bottle
    $18.95

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