In Morocco, the Jewish community would celebrate Tu BiShvat by gathering for a collective feast. Tu BiShvat is the New Year of the trees as described in the Mishna. The wealthiest family would serve a delectable slow cooked meat and dried fruit dish called a tagine. It was named after the special clay pot used to prepare the stew. Traditionally it was prepared with chicken or lamb, dried fruits, and nuts. When the feast ended, every person went home with their hat filled with a gift of various fruits.
You may celebrate with your friends and family with a taste of North African hospitality this Tu Bishvat. On February 10th, when winter is in full force in Philadelphia, serve an exotic fruity chicken tagine. Send your guests home with a care package of fresh or dried fruits, just like the parnassim of Casablanca, Tangiers, and Tetouan.
Chicken Tagine with Honey and Dried Fruits
Adapted from Cuisine Marocaine
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup dried dates
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot.
- Add the chicken and onions.
- Season with the ginger, cinnamon, saffron, salt, and pepper.
- Mix in the honey.
- Toast the almonds in a hot non-stick frying pan.
- Place the almonds in the pot.
- Add the dates, garlic, cilantro, and broth.
- Bring to a boil, cover the pot tightly with a lid, and lower the flame to a simmer.
- Cook for 30 minutes.
- Serve with fluffy steamed couscous.