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 chicken and lentil tagine is bright yellow and alluring. Serve it with rice, warmed pita, or crusty bread.–Mark Bittman

LC Patience, People Note

The sweetly spicy aromas of North Africa will titillate your senses when you toss together this tagine. But don’t worry, you’ve only got an hour to wait. Patience, people.

Chicken and Lentil Tagine Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 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 freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro or parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked over

Directions

  • 1. Pour the oil in a deep skillet or flameproof casserole, preferably nonstick, that has a lid. Place over medium-high heat and wait a minute or so until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until its browned 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. Add the water, cilantro bundle, and cinnamon sticks. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and gently 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 need to add a little water to achieve the desired consistency.)

Variation: Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

  • Substitute 1 cup cooked chickpeas for the lentils.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

May 03, 2005

This is a super easy dinner to make for a weeknight as long as the prep is done ahead of time or you rely on a slow cooker version, which I may try.

Comments
Comments
  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 petite sirloin steaks cut into large cubes. I forgot the cinnamon—oops!—and I replaced the fresh tomatoes with a can of fire-roasted tomatos. I made everything in a 10-inch 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!
    Liz

    • 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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