“This fragrant, light dish will wake up your wintertime,” says Texas State Technical College Culinary Institute Chef Denise Shavandy. “This meal can be made ahead of time, it reheats nicely. Traditionally the dish is cooked in a tagine pot, but can be cooked in any covered pot or slow cooker.”
“This is a nice, moist dish. We want to keep the liquid, so make sure your dish remains covered while it cooks as noted in the recipe,” shared Shavandy.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives
This authentic Moroccan tagine takes very little time to put together, and packs a flavorful punch. It is great with bread or couscous to soak up the flavorful juices.
• 2 ½ to 3 lbs. of chicken, bone in, skin removed, cut into pieces
• 2 large yellow onions, diced
• ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
• ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
• 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
• 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 2 cardamon pods
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• ½ cup green olives, oil cured preferred
• 1 preserved lemon, flesh and seeds removed, sliced
• 1/3 cup olive oil or Moroccan smen if available
• 1/4 cup water, approximately
*Be sure to pre-soak your tagine. If you do not have a tagine, a heavy cast iron pan with lid, or a dutch oven will do.
Add enough of the olive oil to the tagine to coat the bottom. Arrange the chicken in the tagine flesh-side down, and distribute the onions all around. Add the herbs, garlic, ginger, spices, salt, olives and preserved lemon quarters, and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the chicken. Add the water to the tagine, cover, and place on a diffuser over a medium-low heat.
Bring the liquid to a simmer without a hard boil. If the tagine doesn’t begin to simmer within 20 minutes, slightly increase the heat, and then maintain the lowest heat setting required for maintaining a gentle, not rapid, simmer.
Allow the chicken to cook for an hour to an hour and a half. Then turn the chicken over so that it's flesh side up. Cover the tagine again, and finish cooking the chicken until very tender.
Turn off the heat, and let the tagine to cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. I Morocco they eat directly from the tagine, using Moroccan bread to scoop up the chicken and sauce. You can also serve with steamed couscous, which will absorb the juices nicely.