Dinner tonight was not just a slight fail, but a total fail. This picture does not begin to do it justice. Burnt dinner, burnt bottom of the tagine (which it has taken my husband longer to clean than the total cooking time of the dish), burnt the cutting board that I set the tagine down on so badly that the plastic melted and created a whole. The only way to go from here is up. With my next adventure into tagines and with the menu for the rest of the week.
Things were looking good. We had this beautiful recipe that looked amazing. And it was fairly simple overall. Start with a lovely mix of spices. Aren’t they pretty?
Brown your chicken.
Meanwhile, chop the other sundry ingredients and toss them into a bowl. Watch mesmerized as your not yet four year old daughter (who clearly needs a haircut) peels the carrots and cuts the cilantro with scissors while her twin brother finds the ½ cup measure in the cabinet and loads it up with chopped apricots.
Sauté the onions in the lovely chicken drippings then throw everything back in the tagine and wait.
There was a lovely broth going when we checked on the process about ten minutes in. I checked again at about thirty minutes, and things were smelling delicious.
Somewhere in the waiting process after this point, things went very, very wrong. It may have been that we were trying to book tickets to my cousin’s wedding and clean up the toys and negotiate with terrorists all while dinner was cooking. Perhaps it was lack of sleep from the six teen girls in our house last night that were up until 2:30 am. Or it could have simply been that the stove was way too hot.
I smelled burning but somehow had no concept that it might be connected to dinner. Honestly, I thought someone was smoking. No one in my house, or even my neighborhood, smokes. And it is 20 something degrees out, so it's not like my windows were open. I think I might be tired.
I would love to tell you about the flavors in this dish, but all I can say is that it was smoky. And spicy. The potatoes and carrots took up most of the spice. The chicken breast was flavorful but over-cooked (obviously). My husband said that the thighs were delicious despite the smoky overtones. I think the apricots and olives would have been a wonderful compliment to the spice had they not turned into charred blobs at the bottom of the tagine. Lesson learned. Turn down the heat. Cook this dish slowly over much lower heat and it will probably be amazing. Otherwise, you will end up with a pot that looks like this.
Until next time, when we will be serving burnt grilled cheese…