This chicken tagine recipe melds the ease of one-pot cooking with the sharp, briny, citrusy flavors of authentic Moroccan cooking for a simple winter supper.
This chicken tagine recipe is one of countless authentic Moroccan chicken tagine recipes, each of which is ever so slightly different but explains how to braise chicken thighs, preserved lemons, olives, and spices into aromatic and tender awesomeness. The author notes that authentic Moroccan chicken tagines are not served with couscous. But if that’s your preference, be our guest and go right ahead. You could also opt for rice, potatoes, or bread on the side.–Renee Schettler Rossi
What Exactly Is A Tagine? Note
When you hear the word “tagine,” it can refer to either the authentic Moroccan earthenware cooking vessel that’s somewhat conical or it could refer to the resulting braised dish made in said vessel. Even the author of this recipe admits that while she owns a tagine, she finds it much more practical to make tagines in a conventional saucepan. (Essentially, the tagine is noted for trapping moisture released during cooking, but any pot with a lid can do that. We bet you could even make this recipe in a slow cooker. Which means there’s no excuse not to make this dish.)
Chicken Tagine Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- 8 large bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1 large onion, roughly diced (about 2 cups)
- 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- Pinch saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons boiling water
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (8 ounces) homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 7 ounces (200 grams) green olives, pitted
- 2 to 3 small store-bought or homemade preserved lemons, rinsed, thinly sliced, and flesh removed
- Cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped, for garnish
- 1. Heat a good drizzle olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and sear until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- 2. Add the onion to the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook just until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, coriander, and ginger and stir well. Return the chicken to the saucepan.
- 3. Meanwhile, grind the saffron with a mortar and pestle (or just crush it really well between your fingertips) and put it in a bowl. Add the boiling water and let it steep for a couple minutes.
- 4. Add the saffron water to the chicken in the pan and season with a generous amount of sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Pour in the chicken stock or broth, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and gently simmer until the chicken meat is tender as can be and literally almost falling off the bones, at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
- 5. Add the olives and preserved lemon slices to the pan and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat, garnish with the roughly chopped cilantro or parsley, and serve.
Quick Preserved Lemons Note
- If you haven’t got a stash of homemade preserved lemons on your kitchen windowsill, and the store-bought preserved lemons are either nonexistent where you live or cost a pretty penny, you need a recipe for quick preserved lemons. Here are two:
- If using a stovetop, quarter a couple lemons and place them in a saucepan with 1 cup or so water and 2 tablespoons salt. Simmer until the rind is tender. Use as directed in the recipe.
- If using a pressure cooker, combine 4 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a pinch granulated sugar, 2 cups water, and a pinch crushed saffron threads in the pressure cooker. When the steam is full or high, cook for 4 minutes. You can wait till the pressure releases on its own or stick the cooker under cold running water to release the pressure. Reduce the cooking liquid by boiling it on high until it has a nice, thick, honey-like consistency.