Chicken tagine is a Moroccan delicacy. As most food enthusiasts tell you, Morocco is a haven of flavors and award-winning recipes. If you search for Morocco, food is almost always in the top ten lists for what the country is known for worldwide.
Moroccans’ use of bold spices sets their recipes apart from the rest. Add the fresh ingredients & the patience required for slow-cooking chicken tagine and it’s not difficult to see why this is one of the country’s famous dishes.
So, can you make chicken tagine outside of Morocco? Yes. At our fast casual Mediterranean restaurant in NYC, we have perfected the art and we can’t wait to share our homemade recipes with you, so you don’t have to book a flight to Morocco to try the chicken tagine. But first, what is a tagine?
What is Tagine?
Chicken tagine or tajine is chicken that is seared and stewed in a tagine. As it turns out, tagine is the Moroccan name for the pot in which you cook the chicken stew. It’s safe to say this dish gets its name from the stew pan you use to cook it rather than from the cooking method.
A tagine is a traditional Moroccan clay pot with a conical cover. The shape of the lid is integral because it helps recycle the steam keeping the food moist while enhancing the flavors. You can have other tagine dishes like beef or lamb tagine.
If you’re wondering, yes, you can make chicken tagine in a substitute pot if you don’t own a tagine. It’s best to use a heavy bottom pot that will allow for slow cooking.
Homemade Moroccan tagine needs ingredients you can easily access, save for the preserved lemon, which isn’t readily available in some parts of the U.S. You can substitute it with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice.
Chicken Tagine Recipe
As with many popular dishes, people have tried several variations of chicken tagine. The best recipe for a classic dish is the unaltered authentic version. And we make just that here. If you want to try chicken tagine for the first time, we recommend trying the homemade versions. Tasting your first tagine would be a bad experience if you tried it any other way.
If you can’t make it to Homemade by Miriam to try our chicken tagine, try this recipe that serves four.
- 1 chicken, cut into 10 pieces (you may use desired chicken part pieces)
- 4 cloves of garlic (grated)
- Pulverized saffron threads
- Ground ginger (½ teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Ground cumin (½ teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions (strips)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 large preserved lemon
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and cilantro
- 8-10 kalamata olives
- 8-10 cracked green olives
For the sake of this recipe, we’ll use a tagine. Feel free to pull out your heaviest skillet or another thick-bottom pot.
Marinate the chicken
- Mix the saffron, turmeric, garlic, ginger, sweet paprika, and cumin in a bowl.
- Add the black pepper and mix well.
- Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate for 2-4 hours or overnight.
Sear the Chicken
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet.
- Place chicken pieces in hot oil and brown on both sides, starting with the side with the skin.
- Remove from the oil and set aside.
Saute the Onions
- Add onions to the skillet you used to brown the chicken.
- Cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until browned at the edges.
Into the Tagine
- Transfer the cooked onions into a tagine. (If you’re using the same skillet, leave the onions in there)
- Place the seared chicken pieces on the onions.
- Add olives.
- Cut preserved lemons into quarters. You can keep the pulp or remove it if you prefer.
- Scatter lemon peels over chicken.
- Pour the stock and lemon juice over the chicken.
- Place over low heat, and cook for about 45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
- Sprinkle the parsley on top.
You may leave the skin on when browning the chicken to add to the flavors and remove it after searing. You can find preserved lemons in specialty food shops.
See, it’s easy to make. If you want to surprise your loved ones this weekend, we guarantee that this recipe will steal the show. You can prepare the ingredients and marinate the chicken upfront. Cooking time is just over an hour.
If you don’t feel like cooking and have a hankering for chicken tagine, you can order it from Homemade by Miriam to have at one of our fast casual restaurant locations or take it to go so you can enjoy it from your home or office.