If you’re looking for a delicious and flavorful North African dish, look no further than this easy recipe for Chicken Tagine. This authentic chicken tagine recipe is easy to make and is packed with flavor. The clay pot known as a tagine is popular in North Africa, and for good reason – it helps to create some of the most flavorful dishes in the region. In this recipe, I will show you how to cook chicken tagine with lemon, olives, and apricots, using a cone-shaped clay pot.
What is Moroccan Chicken Tagine?
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Moroccan cuisine is their delicious recipe for chicken tagine. It consists of chicken that has been slow-cooked with a variety of spices, lemon, olives, and apricots.
The cone-shaped clay containers North Africa is famous for are known for creating some of the best dishes in the region. The clay material adds a beautiful earthy flavor to the spice-rich Moroccan dishes and helps the flavors flourish, while the cone shape with its narrow base and wide center concentrates the steam on the food helping with even cooking, and resting in juicy meats.
This chicken thigh tagine recipe is fun to make and rich in flavor. The dish gets its distinguished taste from the tagine pot. If preserved lemons are unavailable, squeeze out fresh lemon juice or add lemon zest. Savor this Moroccan classic straight out of the pot to get the authentic taste.
Origin of Chicken Tagine
There is some debate over the origin of the chicken tagine recipe. Some say that it originated in Morocco, while others claim that it was first made in Tunisia. However, one thing is for sure – this dish is a favorite among North African cuisine fans all over the world. The rich and complex flavors of this dish are what make it so popular.
One thing is for sure, tagines are synonymous with Moroccan cooking. These earthenware pots come with cone-shaped clay lids and add a rustic touch to the cuisine. Meat cooked on tagines has a rich, earthy flavor and tastes way better than stovetop dishes.
Traditionally, the locals not only cook in a tagine but also prefer to eat straight out of it. Yes, it’s flavourful but there’s another reason as well. The cone lid ensures even cooking while keeping the juiciness of the meat intact. It retains the heat even after the food has been served.
The traditional Moroccan recipes are both appealing and appetizing. Moroccans tend to prepare some of the most sought-after dishes worldwide.
Chicken: The most important part of this recipe. You can use chicken breasts or thighs, but I prefer the latter because they are more flavorful and juicy.
Harissa: This North African chili paste is a must in any tagine dish for that extra kick of flavor. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, substitute it with red pepper flakes.
Olive oil: You’ll need this to cook the chicken in.
Butter: Adds flavor and richness to the dish.
Onion: Sliced onions are a must in any tagine recipe.
Garlic: Also a must-have ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.
Chickpeas: I like adding chickpeas because they add texture and depth of flavor to the dish.
Broth or water: You’ll need either broth or water to create the sauce. I prefer using chicken broth because it adds more flavor, but you can use vegetable broth or water if you prefer.
Olives: Both green and black olives are used in this recipe. Be sure to seed them before adding them to the dish.
Pickled lemons: These are a must in any Moroccan tagine dish. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, substitute them with lemon juice or zest.
Spices: To get the traditional chicken tagine spice mix, I use a combination of saffron, salt, black pepper, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon, paprika, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, coriander powder, and ginger powder.
Garlic: Add chopped garlic for extra flavor.
Dried apricots: I like to add dried apricots for sweetness.
Raisins: Another sweet ingredient that I like to add.
Flour: This will make the sauce thicker.
Pistachio: Used to garnish the dish.
Silvered almonds: Also used to garnish the dish.
How to make the perfect Chicken Tagine
Simply, preheat the oven, combine the chicken with the marinade, and cook until browned. Then add the chickpeas, broth or water, olives, pickled lemons, and spices. Cook it for around 30 minutes. Serve over couscous or rice!
If you have any leftover chicken tagine, it reheats well in the oven. Just cover with foil and bake at 350°F / 180°C for about 20 minutes, until heated through.
This chicken tagine recipe is definitely a crowd-pleaser! Be sure to make enough for leftovers – they taste just as good reheated the next day.
There are many variations of chicken tagine that you can make. Try adding different vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, or green beans. You can also add dried fruits, such as apricots, raisins, or figs. Be creative and have fun with it!
Tips & Tricks
- Chicken tagine is usually served with couscous or rice.
- If you want a more authentic flavor, use a tagine pot. However, any oven-safe pot or Dutch oven will work just fine.
- If you can’t find pickled lemons, substitute with fresh lemon juice or zest.
- To save time, you can prepare the chicken tagine the night before and refrigerate it.
- This dish reheats well – just cover with foil and bake at 350°F / 180°C
There are various delicious ways to serve the chicken tagine, depending on your taste.
Rice: The traditional side dish to serve with a chicken tagine is rice.
Couscous: Couscous is a North African staple and goes great with chicken tagine.
Bread: Be sure to have some pita or naan bread on hand to soak up all the delicious sauce!
Salad: A simple green salad would be a perfect accompaniment to this dish.
How to store
Chicken tagine will keep in the fridge for up to four days. If you want to freeze it, it will keep for up to three months. When reheating, be sure to heat it slowly over low heat so that the chicken doesn’t dry out.
Is Moroccan chicken spicy?
The answer to this question really depends on how much harissa you use. Harissa is a chili pepper paste that is common in Moroccan cuisine. It can be mild or spicy, depending on how it’s made. If you want a milder dish, you can always reduce the amount of harissa that you use.
Can I make chicken tagine without an oven?
Yes, you can make chicken tagine on the stove. Simply cook the chicken and vegetables in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Then, add the broth or water and spices and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Is chicken tagine gluten-free?
Yes, this dish is naturally gluten-free. However, if you are serving it over couscous or rice, be sure to check the labels to make sure that they are gluten-free as well.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for chicken tagine! Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or if you’ve made it yourself. Bon appetit!
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
- 6 Chicken thighs rubbed with the chicken spice mixture
- 1 tablespoon Harissa
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion sliced
- 2 cloves Garlic chopped
- ½ cup Canned chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ cup Broth or water
- 12 Green olives pitted
- 12 Back olives pitted
- 3 pieces Pickled lemons
- 10 pieces Dried apricots
- 1 handful Raisins
- 2 tablespoons Flour
- ½ teaspoon Saffron
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 2 sticks Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Cardamom
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Dry ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon Ginger powder
- Slivered almonds
- Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken thighs, harissa, olive oil, and butter. Mix well to coat the chicken in the marinade.
- In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened.
- Add the chicken to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes per side, until browned.
- Add chickpeas, broth or water, olives, pickled lemons, and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve over couscous or rice, and garnish with pistachio and slivered almonds. Enjoy!