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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2010

Manhattan's wine dinner features tapas

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

This month's wine dinner at Manhattan's restaurant, 1516 Adams St., pairs a five-course tapas menu with the wines of Washington State.

Chef Ian Regent and Zach Lahey, along with Kevin Boehm from Heidelberg Distributors, have planned a menu that begins with Wonton Chips with Pickled Ginger and Red Pepper, plus smoked salmon canapes, served with Columbia Crest Sauvignon Blanc. Other courses include scallop bisque and Smoked Salmon with Molasses on Baby Spinach, as well as Carpaccio, Coffee-Crusted Petite Filet, and Grilled Beef Satay with Dry Cherry Couli served with Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon.

The meal will end with Cheese Ottering, Cannoli filled with Riccota and Bitter Chocolate, and Fresh Fruit Eclaire, served with Chateau St. Michelle Harvest Select Reisling.

The cost for Wednesday's dinner, which begins at 6:30 p.m., is $65, including tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling Manhattan's at 419-243-6675 or by e-mailing marty@manhattanstoledo.com.

Taste of the Nation Toledo

Tickets remain available for Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation Toledo, which is slated to take place April 25 at Fat Fish Blue, 6140 Levis Commons Blvd., Perrysburg.

The evening will include a food tent from 5 to 8 p.m. with goodies from about 40 restaurants and a party with live music by the Bridges from 8 to 10 p.m. National award-winning chefs Andy Husbands, of Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel restaurants in Boston, and Celina Tio, of Julian of Kansas City, will be part of the event.

Taste of the Nation Toledo supports the effort to end childhood hunger in America. Local beneficiaries are Toledo GROWs, Toledo Day Nursery, Aurora House, and Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.

Tickets to the black-tie-optional event are $150. Tickets and information: 419-705-6635, www.toledotaste.org, or at Fat Fish Blue.

Speeding up the tagine

Tagines, the slow-cooked, deeply aromatic stews of North Africa, are traditionally made and served in distinctive clay pots, often with lamb.

This isn't a traditional version: It's fairly quick, and it relies on a heavy-bottomed saucepan rather than a tagine. With chicken thighs, bulgur, chickpeas, and dried apricots, it comes together to produce an Americanized version that is a super one-pot dinner, fast enough for a weeknight despite the long ingredient list, and infinitely variable.

Skinless chicken thighs do the job nicely here, providing good flavor without requiring hours of cooking; brown them well and be sure to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan while you soften the onions and garlic. Add the dried apricots (you could use figs, prunes, or any other dried fruit), tomatoes, chickpeas and stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook this until the flavors start to come together; once that happens, add the chicken back to the pan. When it's nearly done, add the bulgur — again, you can substitute here, using couscous or rice — and let both go until fully cooked, keeping an eye on things and adding more liquid if necessary.

When the bulgur is tender and the chicken is practically falling off the bone, the tagine is done. Garnish with parsley, but cilantro is another possibility. In fact, the possibilities are nearly endless.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 skinless chicken thighs

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup chopped tomato (fresh, canned, or boxed, with juice)

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, with the liquid reserved

1 to 2 cups chicken stock, bean liquid, or water, or more as needed

1/2 cup bulgur

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Time: About 45 minutes

Put oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken and brown well on both sides; remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; add garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, dried apricots, and tomato. Cook and stir just long enough to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan.

Add chickpeas and 1 cup of stock or bean liquid to the pan and turn heat back to medium-high. When mixture reaches a gentle bubble, return chicken to the pan. Cover pot, turn heat to low and cook, checking occasionally to make sure the mixture is bubbling gently, for about 15 minutes or until tomatoes break down and flavors begin to meld. Stir in bulgur, adding more stock if necessary so that the mixture is covered with about an inch of liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook until the chicken and bulgur are both done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve in bowls garnished with parsley.

Yield: 4 servings

Items for the Morsels column may be e-mailed to: food@theblade.com.



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