moroccan chicken tagine

6 to 8    |   
Prep Time:
15 minutes + 1 hour marinating    |   
Cook Time:
1 to 1-1/2 hours

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moroccan chicken tagine

This is the easiest Moroccan recipe I know (and despite the fact that I went to cooking school in Marrakech, this actually came from an old issue of Saveur magazine) and one of the most requested on this site. You don’t have to own a real tagine like the one shown here to make this—a Dutch oven or other heavy pot works great. Clay tagines really are better to present food in than to cook in anyway because they crack easily in powerful American ovens. You can turn this into a lamb tagine, too; just substitute 3 pounds lamb stew cut into 1-inch pieces for the chicken. Serve it with couscous, which takes minutes to make. If you have preserved lemons curing in the fridge, now is the time to use them.


1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch Italian parsley
3 cloves garlic, peeled
one-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin pulled off
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch saffron threads
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 cup pitted green olives
cooked couscous
preserved lemons, optional


Cut stems off the cilantro and parsley. In a food processor (or by hand), finely mince the leaves. Add the garlic and ginger and pulse to mince (or mince by hand). Put chicken in a large bowl and add minced herbs, garlic, ginger, plus the cumin, saffron, salt and several grindings of pepper. Stir well to coat the chicken, then cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Transfer the mixture to a heavy pot, add the onions and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered (or transfer to a 350° oven), and cook until the meat is tender enough to pull away from the bone, about an hour to an hour and a quarter. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken thighs to a plate and add olives to the liquid in the pot. Boil over high heat until sauce is reduced and flavored with the olives, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot, mix with sauce and then ladle over couscous in individual shallow bowls to serve. Garnish with preserved lemon, if using.