Archives for posts with tag: tagine

Oh, how I love bread.  I wish I could say that it was a casual thing – just a fling and it doesn’t really mean anything.  But, no.  My love of bread is a deep, abiding, spiritual thing.  No passing fancy, here.

Which is why I respect a good loaf, roll, or flatbread.  Why I hold in high esteem anyone who can take water, flour and yeast and turn it into something both beautiful to behold and satisfying to chew.  And, why I can’t just foist making bread off onto some machine that will take up valuable counter space and deprive me of actually getting my hands in and feeling the bread develop.

Because, there really is something to the art of kneading bread and feeling it go from being shaggy and sticky to something smooth and elastic.  Then, watching the yeasts in action as the bread goes through its first rise – it’s magical stuff even if you know the science behind every step of the process.

This recipe comes from Paul Hollywood’s cookbook, How to Bake, and is an absolute doddle to make.  Maneesh is somewhere in the hinterland between a flatbread and focaccia and is topped with one of my favorite middle-eastern spice/herb mixtures, za’atar.  Now, if you can’t find za’atar at your local grocery, you can easily order it online or simply make it yourself.  Whatever you choose, make sure you order or make plenty, because this recipe will require about 6-7 tablespoons of it.

As always, because this is a bread recipe, the measurements are in weight not volume – if you haven’t bought yourself a digital scale, this one is very similar to mine and does an excellent job.


  • 500 g bread flour
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 25 g sugar
  • 320 ml warm water (about 1 1/3 cup water)
  • 6-7 Tbsp za’atar
  • olive oil

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar before slowly adding the warm water.  When the dough comes together (it should feel slightly tacky, but not sticky), remove it from the bowl and prepare to knead.  On a clean counter, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and use your hands to smooth on the counter.  Tip the bread onto the oiled counter and knead for 10 minutes by using the heel of one hand to stretch the bread while using the fingers of your other hand to hold the bread steady.  Gently roll the bread back and repeat, occasionally turning the bread by 90 degrees.  You’ll feel the dough slowly get smoother and more springy.  When you’ve hit the 10-minute mark, test the bread by poking it gently and seeing if the dimple springs back – if it does, you’re ready to let the bread rest and rise.  Lightly oil a bowl and turn the dough in the oil to make sure it’s coated on all sides, then cover the bowl in plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour, or until doubled in size.  In a small bowl, mix the za’atar with just enough olive oil to form a nice paste and let sit while the bread does its thing.

Preheat the oven to 425F and prepare two baking pans by lining with parchment

Once the dough is done rising, tip it out on a clean (not oiled) counter then do something completely insane – knock out as much air as possible by kneading for 2-3 minutes.  When you’re done, divide the bread into 4 and either form into a round (which I never do) or just flatten it into whatever shape it happens to form (my usual MO).  Divide the za’atar paste among the 4 loaves and use the back of a spoon to spread evenly, slightly pressing into the dough.

Maneesh - uncooked

Let the dough sit for about 20-25 minutes then bake for 12-13 minutes.  Let cool about 10 minutes or so before serving with hummus, baba ganouj, barbecue or even a nice tagine … totally yum!!

Maneesh - cooked




If you’re ever in the need of a little bit of sunshine — whether it’s because the day is rainy or maybe because it’s just a little chillier than you’d like — this is a wonderfully warming dish.  A tagine is a Moroccan casserole – the word refers to the dish it’s cooked in but, if you don’t have one, you can cook it in a Dutch oven.  The bright flavors of preserved lemons and green olives are warmed by cinnamon and cumin – it’s summer in a bowl, I tell ya!

And, what’s more, it’s one of those dishes that doesn’t require a lot of heavy lifting – a very little chopping here, a little browning there, pop it in the oven and, voila, dinner!  Serve it with a steaming bowl of couscous and you have an easy, yummy dinner!

Chicken, Lemon and Green Olive Tagine

  • olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skinned
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3″ piece of ginger, peeled and microplaned
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ diagonals
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 heaping tsp harissa paste
  • 6 preserved lemons, quartered with the inside scraped out, leaving only the peel
  • 1/3 cup green olives (somewere around 12-15 olives)
  • handful cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish

Preheat oven to 325.  If you’re using a tagine or casserole dish that can’t go on top of the stove, then use a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high flame to heat a drizzle of olive oil and brown the chicken thighs a couple of minutes on either side, then set them aside in the casserole dish.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until soft, then add the carrots, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, stirring to cook for a minute or two until fragrant.  Pour in the stock and harissa paste, raise the heat and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.  Roughly chop the lemon peel and scatter them and the olives over the chicken before pouring the onion and carrot mixture over everything.  Cover and cook for an hour.

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