Perhaps the most iconic Maghribi dish is the tajeen. Tajeen is a slow cooked stew usually made in a clay pot also known as tajeen. While clay pots may have made their way out of most modern kitchens, the dishes they inspired are still a huge part of North-West African cuisine.
Today’s techniques don’t fully capture the flavours released using slow cooking clay pots, but they still capture those tantalizing Maghribi-Mediterranean aromas and tastes. An Algerian staple, the chicken and olive stew, tajeen zeytoun, is a light dish bursting with vibrant layers of flavour. It’s a simple and easy to make dish, perfect for a midweek dinner.
Indulgence tip: if you’re feeling particularly indulgent you can enjoy this Algerian style and serve it on french fries! This is how I grew up eating this dish at home: a few fries at the bottom of a bowl with the tajeen ladled on top. Delicious!
Looking forward to your feedback and hearing about how this turns out for you. Be sure to take pictures and share 🙂
Happy healthy eats!
Prep: 15 mins Cook time: 35-40 mins Servings: 6 Calories: 196 (see images for nutritional chart)
10 oz Pimento Stuffed Spanish Olives
1 small sweet onion chopped
2 tbsp earth balance
5 cups of water
1 cup of baby carrots
1 ½ tsp salt or to taste
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground pepper
1 lb of cubed chicken breast
7 oz of mushrooms (preferably whole)
1 egg yolk
1 bunch of Italian parsley chopped
- Rinse out your olives and blanch them in two cups of boiling water in a small saucepan for 15 mins and drain.
- Add 2 tbsp of earth balance and chopped onion to large saucepan and saute on medium heat until golden brown.
- Pour in 3 cups of water into the pan and add baby carrots, blanched olives, 1 ½ tsp of salt (remember olives may still be salty so taste and add salt as you cook), 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp ground pepper, and bring to boil.
- Once your water is at a rolling boil add in the cubed chicken breast and let it boil for 15 more mins.
- Lower your heat to low and let dish simmer as you add your mushrooms and cover.
- Take ½ a cup of your tajeen’s broth and the yolk of the egg. While whisking the broth in a small bowl drop in the yolk and continue to whisk quickly so the yolk doesn’t cook. This should leave you with a creamy looking mixture that you’ll now pour back into your tajeen. This is called the aqda and is meant to thicken the broth.
- To finish off sprinkle the chopped Italian parsley on top and serve with fresh bread or rice or those fries 😉
My favorite word on the weekend? Brunch. Brunch means sleeping in late and waking up just in time for the most relaxing meal. One of my favorite brunch foods is a Mediterranean dish called chakchouka, or shakshouka, depending on where you’re from. We Algerians call it chakchouka, and it’s healthy, delicious and wonderfully filling!
Growing up, this tangy dish was a staple in spring and summer. The taste of tomato-drenched peppers and onions always reminds me of cool tiles under my legs as we gathered around the table for lunch after our morning chores. For dessert, la sieste and a telenovela dubbed in Arabic. Voila! The perfect lazy afternoon.
Chakchouka is a wonderful meal on its own, accompanied with a fresh baguette or served over an aromatic rice, like basmati or jasmine. It’s also a wonderful side dish for any savory breakfast, from sausage or kebabs to even steak.
If you’re like me and savor the feeling of filling your friends with a hearty meal, try giving the gift of a chakchouka brunch. Make sure you tell me how it goes—pictures are always appreciated.
Happy healthy eats!
Fresh Veggies yay!
Diced onions and peppers
roasted and peeled tomato
chopped roasted tomato
plop all the eggs in!
Prep: 15-20 mins Cook time: 30-35 mins Servings: 6 Calories: 157 (See images for nutritional chart)
- 3 small sweet onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 ½ – 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp harissa (optional)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (substitute with regular paprika)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne (optional, skip if you prefer a sweeter chakchouka)
- 3 cloves garlic (I like to make life a little easier and buy pre-chopped garlic in jars)
- 3 – 4 green onion stalks
- 4 tbsp parsley (I recommend Italian parsley for its exceptional fragrance)
- 6 eggs
- Place the four Roma tomatoes on a small baking sheet bake them at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes while you prep your other ingredients.
- Chop your onions and bell peppers into small cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan on medium heat for a minute and add onions.
- Sauté the onions on medium low until they’re golden brown. Stir them occasionally for 6-7 minutes, to keep them from sticking to the pan. (Tip: don’t add more oil if the oil dries up too quickly. Instead, lower the heat, add 1/2 cup of water, stir, and cover)
- Add the peppers, ½ cup of water and salt, stir it all together, and cover the pan. Let the peppers and onions cook for about 10 minutes on medium low. Stir occasionally to ensure the peppers cook evenly.
- Take the tomatoes out of the oven and let them cool for about five minutes. The peel should have rolled back already, and will be easy to remove once the tomatoes have cooled.
- Dice the tomatoes into large chunks. The center of the tomatoes may still be hot, so handle them carefully.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 ½ cups of water to the pan.
- Add the tomato paste, harissa (optional), black pepper, cumin, cayenne (optional), and garlic. Stir, cover, and cook on medium high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 6 minutes.
- Sprinkle ¾ of your green onions on top, setting aside the greener parts of the stem to garnish your finished chakchouka
- Crack your eggs, one by one, in a circular pattern over your simmering chakchouka. Depending on your preference, you can break the yolk and swirl it gently so that it cooks through, or you can leave the eggs as they are and cover the pan with a lid so that they poach over the next five minutes. I like a semi-runny yolk, others may prefer a firmer yolk, I’ll leave this up to you. Turn off the heat and you are all set.
- Plating: work gently around your eggs to plate the vegetables first, and then an egg on. Garnish with parsley and green onion stems and serve warm. Chakchouka can also be delicious served chilled the next day, or used as a dip.