A little bit of warning, this recipe is not a rush rush recipe. You must prepare at least a days in advance, just for the marination process, and another 2 hours of cooking time the following day. But, after tasting this dish, you will not disappointed at all. It's absolutely worth all the effort.
It really a great idea to take advantage of end of summer, especially tomato which is perfect for this recipe, as they are are at their peak of ripeness, the color is so vibrant, tastes sweet and juicy. I have the advantage of growing my own in my own backyard, and I always think everyone should at least have 1 plant of tomato in summer. It's easy to grow in a pot, and it can yield pretty good size tomatoes.
Chicken Smothered With Tomato Jam
Recipe adapted from Paula Wolfert's The Food Of Morocco
Serve 6 - 8
2 (about 3 to 3½ pounds) cornish hens, cut each into quarter
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 - 15 black peper corns (depending on your taste)
1/2 tsp saffron, dissolve in 2 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon freshly grated fresh ginger (I used this grater, it's really inexpensive to buy)
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
2½ pounds red ripe and juicy tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds, to serve
Rinse the hens under cold running water, pat dry with paper towel, and place them in a large ceramic dish, or a container with its own lid.
Using mortar and pestle, pound garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper corns to make a smooth paste. Add saffron, freshly grated ginger, and olive oil - mix well. Rub this paste all over the hen pieces. Cover the dish, or the container. Refrigerate overnight.
The following day, place the hens including the marinade into a large tagine pot. Add grated onion, ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of water, mix thoroughly. Place the tagine pot over low heat stove, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, stirring once, then remove the lid (the cover) and continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, and tomato paste, cook for about 20 more minutes, or until the hens are tender. Remove the hens into clean dish, cover with a few layers of aluminum foil to keep it warm.
Continue to cook the tomato for 1 hour, or until all liquid is evaporated and the sauce is cooked on its own oil. Add honey, cook for another minute or so to bring out its flavor. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Return the hens into the tagine pot, coating them on all sides with the sauce. Remove from the heat, sprinkle in sesame seeds. Serve with plain couscous, flat bread of your preference, or steam basmati rice.