Chicken and Lentil Tagine

A tagine is the name of both a stew and the pot it’s served in. A North African specialty, it differs from other stews primarily in its sweet spicing. This one, featuring chicken, is bright yellow and alluring. Serve it with rice, warmed pitas, or crusty bread.–Mark Bittman

Chicken and Lentil Tagine Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 10 M
  • Makes 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • One 3 to 4 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked over


  • 1. Put the oil in a deep skillet or flameproof casserole, preferably nonstick, with a lid. Place over medium-high heat and wait a minute or so, until the oil is hot. Add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 2. Stir in the garlic, onions, tomatoes, turmeric, and some salt and pepper. Pour in 1 quart of water, along with the cilantro bundle and cinnamon sticks. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • 3. Add the lentils, cover, and simmer until they’re soft, about 25 minutes more. Discard the cilantro bundle and cinnamon sticks, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. (You can prepare the dish up to this point and let it sit for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before reheating and serving; you may have to add a little water to thin the sauce a bit.)

Variation: Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

  • In step 3, substitute 1 cup cooked or nearly cooked chickpeas for the lentils.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

  1. Mary Capps says:

    I’d love to try this, but I want to make this tagine *in* my tagine. Has anyone tried this? Would I brown the chicken in a saute pan and then transfer it and the remaining ingredients into the tagine for finishing?

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Mary, I asked Sita, one of our testers who has made this on many occasions, and that is exactly what she does.

  2. Elisabeth (Liz) Romero says:

    I made the Chicken & Lentil Tangine, but replaced the chicken with 5 pitete serloin steaks cut into large cubes. I forgot the cinnamon—oops! I replaced the tomatoes with a can of fire roasted tomatos. I made everything in a 10″ electric frying pan and let it cook at 200 F until the meat was tender and the lentils were fully cooked. I also added a can of rinsed & drained garbanzo beans. It tasted great! And, my friends have asked me to make it again. Now they too are in love with Moroccan food. They think I worked hard and don’t believe me when I say it was easy. Happy cooking!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Niiiiice, Liz! That’s what cooking is all about, in my mind. Relying on a recipe if you must, but following your wits whenever able. Appreciate you sharing your rendition.

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