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Djaj Souiri (Fez Style) - Moroccan Chicken and Egg Tagine

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Djaj Souiri (Fez Style) - Moroccan Chicken and Egg Tagine

Djaj Souiri - Fez Style Moroccan Chicken and Egg Tagine

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

This omelet-like chicken and egg tagine is, according to cookbook author Paula Wolfert, a Fez variation of the original Djaj Souiri, a chicken and egg dish from the coastal city of Essaouira. In this version, the combination of eggs and chicken with fragrant, savory seasoning yields flavor redolent of Chicken Bastilla. Cinnamon, ginger and saffron are key spices.

It's quickest to braise the chicken in a pot before transferring the cooked meat and sauce to a traditional tagine base. (If you don't have a tagine, a shallow baking dish can be used instead.) You can also prepare the dish from start to finish in the tagine, but you'll need to allow an extra hour or more of cooking time. Directions for this alternate method are included below.

Although the list of ingredients may look long, the Fez style Djaj Souiri is quite easy to prepare. Traditionally the chicken pieces are left intact – the finished presentation will be nicest this way – but some recipes suggest removing the bones from the cooked meat and breaking it into large, bite-sized pieces for easier eating. The photo shows the latter; it's your choice.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and skin removed
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 or 2 small pieces (2 to 3") of cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • -------------------------------------------
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste
  • -------------------------------------------
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the chicken, grated onion and spices. Stir to combine, cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is very tender and pulls easily off the bone. Do not add water, and be careful not to burn the chicken.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Reduce the liquids in the pot until thick. Discard the cinnamon stick. Add the parsley and lemon juice, and simmer for an additional minute or two before removing the pot from the heat.

Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Beat the eggs with the salt, pepper and cinnamon and set aside.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the bones. Transfer the boned chicken to a large tagine and pour the sauce over the chicken. Heat the tagine over medium-low heat (use a diffuser if your stove top is electric) for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the tagine and its contents are warm to the touch.

Pour the egg mixture over the chicken and place the tagine in the lower third of the oven. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the omelet is set but the top is still runny.

Switch the oven heat to broiler and move the tagine to the upper third of the oven. Continue cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the eggs are fully set and lightly browned.

Serve the tagine directly from the dish in which it was baked, with bread on the side to scoop everything up.

Alternate Tagine Preparation

Melt the butter with the onions in a large tagine placed on a diffuser over medium-low heat. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the spices and arrange in the tagine, bone-side down. Swirl 1/4 cup water in the bowl to cleanse it of the spices and add the water to the tagine. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (do not increase the heat), until the chicken pulls easily from the bone. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C). Beat the eggs with the salt, pepper and cinnamon and set aside.

If necessary, reduce the sauce in the tagine until thick. Add the parsley and lemon juice and simmer for a minute or two before returning the chicken (remove the bones first, if you like) to the tagine. Pour the egg mixture into the tagine and bake as described above.

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Fabulous weeknight dinner, Member hroth521

What an interesting way to prepare chicken - created a very tender spiced base for this delicious dish. I made it pretty much as written, except in a Dutch oven instead of a tagine. Very tasty, and very well received by my family. It is very very good as leftovers the next day too. Thanks for posting this recipe.

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