Thursday 5 March 2009

moroccan chicken tagine

I requested a tagine for Christmas and my parents kindly obliged. I have made two of the Moroccan casseroles since then, the chicken and olive version I'm posting here and a vegetarian version that I'll share soon.

Both were delicious.

Tagines are rich with spices and flavoured with preserved lemon, my Weekend Herb Blogging theme ingredient for the week.

Making a tagine was one of my 2009 food challenges, so I’m felling pretty positive about moving through my goals of the year too.

Tagines are so easy to make and you don’t really need the specially shaped conical pot. A good casserole dish will suffice, and may even be necessary for cooking large portions when juices may slosh out of a shallow tagine base.

Djej Emshmel (Moroccan Chicken Tagine w Lemon & Olives)

Anna’s adaptation of
Elise’s recipe
. Serves 4 - 6.

2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1.5kg chicken thighs and drumsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 zucchini, sliced
2 potatoes, sliced
1 preserved lemon (see recipe below)
1 cup green olives, pitted
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt, for seasoning
Olive oil, for frying


1. Rinse preserved lemon in cold water. Discard pulp then cut peel into thin strips.

2. Combine all the spices in a large bowl.

3. Pat dry the chicken pieces and put in the bowl, coat well with the spice mixture. In a tagine (or heavy bottomed skillet), heat the olive oil on medium high heat.

4. Add the chicken pieces and brown for five minutes.

5. Remove chicken, lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions and any spices left in the bowl. Fry until soft.

6. Add potato. Fry for 5 minutes.

7. Add zucchini. Fry for 3 minutes.

8. Add the preserved lemon, olives, raisins and stock.

9. Bring to a simmer then add chicken. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.

10. Turn chicken pieces over. Cook another 10 minutes (without lid if you need to reduce liquid). 11. Adjust seasonings to taste then mix in fresh parsley and coriander just before serving. Serve with couscous or rice.

My focus for WHB this week is preserved lemons.

I wrote a previous post about lemons, but now specifically I’m drawing your attention to Morocco’s preserved lemons.

They are central to North African and Middle Eastern cuisines and are actually a pickle, since the lemons are preserved in brine (salty liquid).

The flesh can be used, although the rind is preferable. To use, simply wash to remove excess salt and chop. The lemons add an extremely citrus flavour to stews, soups, salad dressings, slow braising casseroles and even as a cocktail garnish.

Hamad Muraqqad (Moroccan Preserved Lemons)

Recipe by Maggie Beer.


Thick-skinned lemons
Salt: 1 dessertspoon per lemon + one extra for the jar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preserving jars


1. Cut lemons into quarters. Place the lemons, flesh side down, in the jar, sprinkling each quarter with salt as you add it to the jar.

2. For every lemon use a good dessertspoon of salt, and one for the jar.

3. When the jar is full, press right down on the lemons to squeeze as much juice out, filling the jar with more slices, again squeezing right down. Pack them in very tightly as they will shrink.

4. Immerse all the lemons by topping up the jar with fresh lemon juice.

5. Put a lid on the jar and 6-8 weeks later they will be ready to use.

To hold the lemon quarters under the lemon juice, use the little plastic devices found in takeaway pizza boxes that stop the topping from sticking to the cardboard lid.

To read the WHB round-up for this week, visit Haalo's Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once.

And for more preserved lemon recipes . . . .
Algerian-Style Duck w Preserved Lemon & Olives
Baby Cos Hearts & Asparagus w Preserved Lemon Dressing
Chicken, Haloumi & Preserved Lemon Skewers
Chorizo & Preserved Lemon Turkey Roll
Cumin-Spiced Snapper w Preserved Lemon Moghrabieh
Fennel & Preserved Lemon Salad
Feta & Preserved Lemon Salad
Fettuccine w Preserved Lemon & Roasted Garlic
Fried Artichokes w Preserved Lemon Dressing
Grilled Striped Bass w Preserved Lemon Rub
Kumera & Preserved Lemon Skewers
Marinated Yellow-Tail w Preserved Lemon
Moorish Lamb Cutlets w Preserved Lemon Yoghurt
Preserved Lemon & Goats Cheese Croutes
Split Pea, Sausage & Preserved Lemon Soup
Swiss Chard, Potato & Preserved Lemon Pot Pie
Tuna Tartare w Preserved Lemons





  1. Thanks for the link Anna! Great post. I adore preserved lemons, they're so versatile. And I'm very jealous of your beautiful tagine - I've been wanting to get one for a while :)

  2. Your chicken sounds delicious and full of flavour.

  3. That Tajine looks very tasty and so many lovely spices and ingredients! Thanks for the preserved lemon recipe too.

  4. I'm happy to say that I stumbled onto your blog for the first time today and I really like the creative yet easy recipes you share. Looking forward to reading more!

    Casual Kitchen

  5. Yum - I love Moroccan food - I can't wait to try this out.

  6. Wonderful blog.
    Can't wait to try this one. xx

  7. wow.chicken sounds many ingredients...uphere it is very hard to find ingredients....however recently i explored a great site for ingredients and food products from around the world.

  8. i am enjoy your posting. thank you very much


  9. Have just made a speedy version of this smells delicious!


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