Chicken Tagine with Pearl Barley Pilaf and Tabil

From issue #7.
Photography by Simon Devitt.
Chicken Tagine with Pearl Barley Pilaf and Tabil

Tabil’ means coriander in Tunisia. It is also a dry spice mix of coriander, caraway, garlic and red peppers. This is a wet version inspired by Greg Malouf.

Serves: 6


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
800 grams boned chicken thighs, skin on
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cumin seeds
pinch saffron, toasted
1-2 tablespoons harissa
2 x 400 gram tins tomatoes, crushed
1 x 300 gram tin cooked chickpeas 1 preserved lemon

1 cup pearl barley 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1⁄2 cup coriander leaves, chopped 1⁄2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

4 cloves garlic 3 green chillis 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 2 cups packed coriander leaves 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil juice of 1 lime


Chicken: Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Season the chicken thighs with sea salt and pepper and brown well on both sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onions, garlic and cumin and cook until soft. Add the saffron and harissa and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, the finely chopped rind of the preserved lemon and the chicken to the casserole, season well, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. The chicken should be quite soupy.

Pilaf: Rinse the barley under cold water and drain. Place in a medium sized pot with the stock, salt and olive oil. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before removing the lid. Stir through the herbs before serving.

Tabil: Place the garlic, chillis and caraway in a food processor and blend to a rough paste. Add the coriander and process until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil to form a paste. Add the lime juice, and season well.

To serve: Serve the chicken on top of the pilaf with a dollop of tabil on top. Serves 6