Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe

Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe

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  • 1 to 2 preserved lemons * (quartered and seeds removed)
  • 1 whole chicken * (cut into pieces, skin removed, back discarded or reserved for another use)
  • 2 large onions (white or yellow, finely chopped)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 small handful fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon butter
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
  • 1/3 cup olive oil*
  • 2 handfuls pitted olives* (green or red, or mixed)
  • 1/4 cup water (approximately, if using a tagine)


-Remove the flesh from the preserved lemons and chop the flesh finely. Reserve rind for cooking. Add the lemon flesh to a bowl along with the chicken, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, ginger, pepper, turmeric, and salt. If using, add the saffron, ras el hanout, and butter. Mix well.

-If time allows, let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for several hours overnight.

-Cook in either a tagine or in the oven.

-When cooking with a tagine add enough olive oil to the tagine to coat the bottom.

-Arrange the marinated chicken in the tagine, flesh-side down, and distribute the onions all around.

-Add the olives and reserved rind of the preserved lemons, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the chicken.

-Add the water to the tagine, cover, and place on a heat diffuser over medium-low heat. Give the tagine time to reach a simmer without peaking. If you don’t hear the tagine simmering within 20 minutes, slightly increase the heat, and then use the lowest heat setting required for maintaining a gentle—not rapid—simmer.

-Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for 80 to 90 minutes, and then turn the chicken over so it’s flesh side up. Cover the tagine again, and allow the chicken to finish cooking until very tender 45 minutes to 1 hour longer.

-Turn off the heat and let the tagine cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

No tagine? Follow these steps…

-Preheat oven to 425 F/220 C. Add enough of the olive oil to a large baking dish so it coats the bottom.

-Add the sliced onions and garlic from the marinade.

-Then place the marinated chicken on top.

-Add the olives and reserved rind of the preserved lemons on top and drizzle the chicken with the remaining olive oil.

-Bake the chicken uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is light golden brown, basting occasionally.

Reduce the heat to 350 F/180 C and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes or longer. The chicken should be deeply browned and the juices should run clear.

-Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Find ceramic tagines from Emile Henry and the Moroccan Blend Epicentre Spice at Herma’s along with preserved lemons. (While supply lasts. Feel free to call 905-885-9250 for availability.)