Djouez bel khorchef – Tagine with Cardoons.
It turns out I’ve been spelling ‘Jwaz’ wrong. Djouez is another word in the Algerian vocabulary for Tagine.
Cardoon also known as artichoke thistle is from the sunflower family.
It is native to the central and western Mediterranean region and adapted to dry climates like the one we have here in Algeria. As I write this I’m hearing heavy rain pattering on my window, how ironic.
As they are both from the same plant family, it comes as no surprise that the taste of cardoon is very like artichoke and either can be used in this recipe. If you can get hold of cardoon – it looks like celery, they are a lot easier to work with than fresh artichokes.
You simply remove the hairy leaves with the help of a knife; grabbing a leaf between knife and your thumb and pulling down removing a little of the inner fibre of the cardoon as you go. Said leaves of the cardoon can be a little prickly but nothing compared to the ‘hairy’ artichoke.
As the flavour of the cardoon is mildly bitter I’ve used few and simply flavoured vegetables/legumes to compliment, namely potatoes which are earthy and creamy and chickpeas which are nutty.
Chicken goes with the territory, most of my main dishes are poultry based because It’s cheaper than red meat.
Spicing I’ve kept traditional, using fragrant cinnamon and cumin – my two favourite spices which are often used in the Maghrebian / North African kitchen.
Djouez bel Khorchef is ideal to serve during these colder months when cardoon is in season and you’re craving warm healthy comfort food.
- 450g cardoon, trimmed, leaves removed, washed and cut into 5cm length pieces (=approx 250g)
- 2 tablespoon oil (any neutral oil)
- 2-4 chicken pieces, on the bone
- 1 medium red onion, grated
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (cassia bark)
- 1/2 tsp salt, adjust to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, adjust to taste
- 2 medium-small potatoes, washed, peeled & quartered length-ways
- Handful of pre-cooked chickpeas
- 625ml water, or enough to just cover the chicken and vegetables
- Heat oil In a 2 litre cooking pot over medium-high heat, seal and brown chicken pieces.
- Add onion, garlic, salt and black pepper. Cover and allow onion to soften 2/3 - stir regularly to make sure garlic doesn't burn. Stir in spices and saute a minute or two.
- Add cardoons, potatoes and chickpeas (if using canned, Add towards the end of cooking - drain/rinse first) followed by water - enough to cover chicken. Bring upto a boil, cover and lower to a fast simmer. Allow to cook 40mins or so until chicken is thoroughly cooked and sauce has reduced to your liking. Either remove chicken skin before serving or crisp under the the broiler / in a frying pan with a little oil.
Add fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley to the dish before serving if you like.