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Chtitha Djedj: Algerian Chicken Stew

 

Chtitha Djedj: Algerian Chicken Stew

Chtitha Djedj is one of the most popular dishes in Algeria, specially on its capital Algiers. Algerians like their stews red and spicy. A chtitha basically refers to that hot red sauce present on so many of their stews. The beautiful bright hue is in part given by tomato sauce or paste but also by one of the most famous and delicious products of the Tunisian kitchen, Harissa. A delicious hot and savoury combination of roasted chilli & serrano peppers, and many different herbs and spices bound by olive oil. A simple but powerful paste with huge flavor and wonderful color.
Chtiltha Djedj is a hearty chicken stew. Lots of spices and slowly cooked in a Tanjine to render a deliciously tender and flavorful meal.

Ras-el-Hanout Spices:

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cayenne

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

1/4 tsp ground mace

For the Stew:

8 chicken legs (or whole chicken cut in pieces)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

6 garlic cloves, whole

1 tbsp harrissa

2 tsp Ras-el-Hanout

1 tbsp tomato paste

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups canned garbanzo beans

1/4 cup slightly chopped fresh cilantro

 

Instructions:

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Let it rest for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile mix all the spices for the Ras-el-Hanout mix in a small bottle or bowl. Mix well and reserve.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat on a dutch oven. Brown the chicken on all sides and reserve the pieces on a dish.

Lower the heat to medium-low. Remove excess oil leaving only 2 tbsp in the pot. Add the onions and fry until they become translucent and start browning just a bit. About 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, ras-el-hanout, tomato paste and harissa. Cook stirring for about 2 minutes until very fragrant.

Add chicken stock, garbanzo beans and reserved browned chicken. Stir well, correct for Salt & Pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and bring the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes.

Add cilantro right before serving.

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