Chicken tagine with potatoes, olives and preserved lemon

Contributed by

Aicha Avison

The Story

This dish is called chicken tagine because in Morocco they used to cook it in a terracotta pot called a tagine.

The tagine is usually cooked on very low heat for a few hours. You can basically get your protein, whether it is chicken, lamb, beef, fish or dry legumes, veggies and carbs in one meal. The concept of cooking in a tagine appeared in the famous One thousand and one nights from the Arabic story collection from the 9th century.

Chicken tagine with potatoes, olives and preserved lemon

This is a traditional recipe cooked once or twice a week in Moroccan households. The use of saffron, preserved lemon and chermoula gives the dish a superb flavor.
Servings 4
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 1 hr


  • 1 kg Chicken or just chicken legs
  • 2 medium Onions
  • 2 large Potatoes
  • 4 clove Garlic
  • 2 tbs Chopped parsley
  • 2 tbs Chopped coriander
  • 1 medium Preserved lemon
  • 1/2 cup Green or red olives
  • 1/2 medium Juice of half lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron
  • 1 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tbs Salt
  • 4 tbs Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika


  • First, wash your chicken with 3 tbsp of white vinegar and 3 tbsp of salt.
  • Leave aside for minimum 40 minutes, then wash your chicken with fresh water and dry it with kitchen towel/paper.
  • Soak the saffron in a cup with hot water and 1/2 tsp of honey.
  • To prepare the chermoula - in a food processor, add parsley, coriander, garlic, 4 tbsp of the saffron mixture, the lemon juice, the flesh of the preserved lemon, salt to taste and all the spices and blend until smooth.
  • In a bowl, marinade the chicken with the chermoula and set aside.
  • Preheat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the chicken, leave the rest of the chermoula in the bowl and cook for 4 minutes each side.
  • Add the chopped onions and the rest of the saffron water. Cook gently for 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed.
  • Cut your potatoes into quarters as in the pics, and put them in the chermoula bowl to soak up the flavors.
  • Add the potatoes to the chicken and all the rest of the chermoula.
  • Add the olives and the peel of the preserved lemon.
  • Add half a cup of hot water and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure you have enough liquid in your tagine but not too much.
  • Optional - preheat your oven to 200C and put your tagine in to finish cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Serve with freshly baked bread, couscous or rice.
  • Your tagine will be more delicious if you marinade your chicken in the chermoula overnight.
Course: Main
Cuisine: African

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