Stewing over cold weather with tangine

Cold demands remedy: itchy sweater, bright fire, steaming stew.

Challenges, all. In extra-cold, I rely on my extra-itchy sweater. It was made in Ireland, long ago, by a sheep handy with the cableknit. I stuff myself in, do up the leather buttons and feel hogtied and sheepish. Then I take it off, and feel cold.

I try fire. I stuff the latest Amazon box with twigs, flick in a match and marvel at the orange conflagration, one soon collapsed to cold hiss.

I stew. I'm fond of Moroccan tagine, which is to say stew. Tagine can be cooked in a point-topped pot called a tagine. Or served in a point-topped dish called a tagine. Or simmered in a standard saucepan by a cook tied into a point-topped cap and still called tagine. In the savory/sweet tradition, mine pairs chicken with sweet potato. It's apricot sticky, ginger bright, cayenne spiced.

I serve it scorching hot, a welcome rejoinder to a day spent in the company of scratchy sheep and damp twigs.

Chicken tagine

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Serves: 4

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), cut in half

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

2 onions, halved and thinly sliced crosswise

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons apricot preserves or jam

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