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


  • 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 cilantro or parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup dried lentils, picked over


  • 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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