North African/Persian flavours are no stranger here and this duck tagine features more than a passing nod to those ideas. Cooking in much less than an hour this lighter stew is perfect for the change of seasons.
Duck Tagine With Almonds and Dates.
A tagine is a dish named after the receptacle it is cooked in… A conical pot that returns the condensate from the recipe back into the pan.
However, to me it signifies a simple stew, rich with the flavours of North Africa or Persia.
I have not cooked a tagine in a tagine since I broke mine almost 10 years ago. There is little difference in either flavour or texture when cooked in a pan with a lid.
In fact, this is the 5th tagine recipe on my site and not one of them has been anywhere near a tagine.
Here are the rest of them, just in case this foxy duck number has not piqued your interest:
Cooking the Duck Breast:
This duck tagine uses a duck breast, stretching a single larger breast between two servings.
However, cooking a duck breast in a stew can add far too much fat to the recipe.
As a result, I cook the duck breast skin side down using the cold pan method that I used in my Duck a l Orange recipe.
This helps to render out the fat, which you absolutely must keep, it makes the very best roast potatoes!
This leads to a much lighter final tagine.
The duck breast is then finished off in the oven sat on top of the sauce that we create using just a little of the duck fat to get things started.
What to Serve With a Tagine.
I honestly rarely look much further than couscous as an accompaniment to a tagine.
In this instance, I have opted for a fairly simple buttered couscous. Primarily because it is simple to cook, quick and it is the perfect vehicle to carry the flavours in the dish a little further.
It is the same reason that I used couscous as a side to my slow roast duck legs in a tamarind sauce.
In fact, in many ways you could think of this recipe as a lightened up, new season version of that recipe.
- 300 g Duck Breast
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 200 g Onion
- 75 g Pitted Dates
- 75 g Blanched Almonds
- 1 Tbsp Harissa Paste
- 400 g Canned Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 Tsp Rosewater
- 150 g Couscous
- 175 ml Boiling Water
- 25 g Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cut a diamond pattern on the skin side of the duck breast ensuring that you do not go through to the flesh.
- Season the duck generously with salt and pepper then place skin side down in a dry pan that you can transfer to the oven.
- Throw in the cinnamon stick and then turn on the heat to medium/low and cook for 10 minutes.
- As the duck cooks drain off the collected fat
- Top and tail the onion and then cut into 8 wedges.
- Tear the dates into bite sized pieces.
- After 10 minutes remove the duck and set aside.
- Drain all but a scant covering of duck fat from the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and fry off the onions for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes add in the almonds and toast for 60-90 seconds.
- Then add the canned tomatoes, Harissa paste and rosewater.
- Bring to temperature and have a taste adding salt and pepper as you wish.
- Once you are seasoned up, add the duck breast to the top of the mix skin side up.
- Add a lid and place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes at 200°C or 400°F.
- Whilst this is roasting place the couscous in an oven proof dish and add a generous pinch of salt.
- Pour over the boiling water and then cover with foil and allow to sit for 7-8 minutes.
- Cut the butter into a small dice and then scatter over the top of the couscous and then cover with wet greaseproof paper.
- Place in the oven alongside the duck and allow to sit for the final 10 minutes.
- When ready to serve cut the duck into bite sized pieces and stir through the tomato sauce.
- Finally fork the butter through the couscous and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 911 Total Fat: 49g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 32g Cholesterol: 231mg Sodium: 528mg Carbohydrates: 74g Fiber: 13g Sugar: 36g Protein: 52g