In a large bowl, combine the chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Place the cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat and heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until a shade darker and fragrant. Transfer to a mortar or an electric spice grinder and grind finely. Add the cumin and turmeric to the chicken and turn to coat with the spices.
Heat a stainless steel-clad or cast-iron base of a tagine over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a piece of chicken, add the chicken, skin side down. Use a rubber spatula to clean all the seasoning from the sides of the bowl and add it to the chicken. Increase the heat to medium and cook the chicken for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned on the first side. Use a spatula or tongs to turn the chicken pieces brown side up. Spread the onion wedges on top of the chicken and cook, occasionally stirring the onion and turning the chicken, for 10 minutes, or until the onion is wilted and golden.
Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, prunes, honey and cinnamon, breaking up the tomatoes with the side of a wooden spatula. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until he chicken falls from the bone.
Uncover the tagine and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and prunes to a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in an oven set at 200°F. If there is an excess of broth, boil the liquid, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Taste and adjust t he seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and prunes to the tagine.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top. Re-cover the tagine and carry it to the table. Uncover and serve.
Serves: 4 - 6
Reprinted with permission from ©Sur la Table, Inc. Things Cooks Love, recipes by Marie Simmons, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing click for book review
Working with tagines: You can brown meat in a tagine if it has a stainless steel-clad or cast-iron base. If your tagine is all earthenware, simply toss the chicken with the ingredients and simmer in the tagine over low heat. Alternatively, brown the chicken in a skillet and transfer it to the tagine for simmering, or prepare the entire dish in a Dutch oven or braiser.
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