This week is Diabetes Week, a time when those living with diabetes are encouraged to share their stories to raise awareness of the condition. Robin Ellis, star of the original Poldark series, shares a delicious chicken tagine recipe that is perfect for any household that is cooking with a diabetic diet in mind. Robin himself has Type 2 diabetes and has adapted his lifestyle and kitchen to manage the condition with minimal sacrifice. His cookbook is full of dishes for diabetics.
Research now shows that the Mediterranean way of eating is one of the healthiest on the planet. Key elements include:
Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
Eating whole grains, brown rice, wholewheat pasta and legumes
Seasoning food with herbs and spices (so less salt is required)
Including nuts and seeds (dry roasting brings out the flavour)
Reducing the amount of red meat in the diet
Eating fish or shellfish at least twice a week
Limiting dairy products
Cooking with olive oil rather than butter
Today, Robin Ellis shares one of his all-time favourite Mediterranean dishes – one that is perfect for his lifestyle as someone living with Type 2 diabetes.
A friend of mine, Charlotte Fraser – a wonderful cook in her own right – put me on to this gorgeous tagine dish, and it has been very useful. It’s spicy and delicious and a good dish for company because it gently gets on with cooking itself, and needs only rice as an accompaniment.
Charlotte’s Chicken Tagine – Serves 4
1 free-range/organic chicken, weighing about 2kg/4.5lb, jointed into 8-10 pieces
3 onions, peeled and cut into eighths
2 medium fennel bulbs, outer leaves cut off, cored and cut into eighths
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp each turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne, ground ginger
1 tsp saffron threads
salt and pepper
240ml/8 fl oz vegetable stock olive oil
a good handful of green olives
1 preserved lemon, zest only, cut in strips
2 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) or parsley
cooked brown basmati rice to serve
Put the chicken pieces in a casserole or, even better, a tagine if you have one.
Scatter over the onion and fennel
Sprinkle over the garlic and all the spices. Season with salt and pepper
Pour over the stock and drizzle over some olive oil.
Turn everything over with care and gently bring to the boil – about 15 minutes. Put the lid on and cook at a gentle simmer for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally. The chicken pieces should be sumptuously melted and collapsed and the vegetables tender when ready.
Add the olives and lemon zest and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
Add the coriander or parsley just before serving with a steaming plate of brown basmati rice.
Taken from Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics by Robin Ellis. In Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics, Robin shares his favourite dishes so that other Type 2 diabetics and their families can enjoy the benefits of a healthy Mediterranean style of cooking.