My food fantasy continues, as I explore Jay Cheses’ “Couscous Royale” story in the November 2012 issue of Saveur. I’m attracted to the Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian ingredients of the Parisian Maghreb. These include certain beans and meats and spices (ras-el-hanout), dried fruits and olives and couscous. Preserved lemons and phyllo dough. This stuff really pinpoints what I like to eat. Celebrations of “briny” and “sweet” and “tart.” So, let me try the “Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Figs, and Olives.”

Again, I’m wooed by the list of spices: bay leaves, ground cumin, paprika, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, saffron. Rather than cut up a chicken, I buy the pieces I like, and brown and simmer them stress-free in my Dutch oven. I was too excited to combine the flavors of green olives, dried apricots and figs, and preserved lemons; these produced such a lemony, sweet, and warm dish. I enjoy the softened texture of the dried fruits. While Dave and I appreciated the complexities of this stew’s sauce, it was too much for my youngster to handle. But that’s OK. I’ve thrilled with the Maghreb, openly and heartily.

PRICES:
Chicken Drumsticks & Thighs (3.5 lbs.) = $9.63
Onions (2) = .90¢

PREP TIME: dedicate an hour or more to the prep and cooking
TASTE:
briny, sweet, tart = olives, dried apricots and figs, preserved lemons and juice

Alright. I’ll leave Paris for now. Next time, I’ll look at Japan. I want to make an “Okonomiyaki” and some “Miso Clams.” There’s a switch! Come back to my site soon, to see what happens.