Chicken Tagine


  • A 3-to-4 pound chicken cut into roughly 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons frsh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 each large yellow onions, medium diced
  • 1 each cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon saffon threads, crumbled
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped rough
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped rough
  • 1 cup black, oil cured olives
  • 2 each perserved lemons
  • chicken stock as needed 


Make a spice rub for the chicken from the turmeric, pepper, ginger, minced garlic, and half each of the olive oil and lemon juice. Gentle rub the spice mix under the skin as much as possible, then over the chicken. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove chicken to the countertop to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Once that is done season it with salt, and using the remaining olive oil, brown the chicken on both sides, skin side down first. When nicely colored, but not nearly cooked through, remove to a plate to rest, and baste w/ the remaining lemon juice.

In a heavy-bottomed pan w/ a lid ( or a Dutch oven ), over medium heat add the butter, onions, cinnamon stick, garlic, half each of the saffron, cilantro, parsley, and olives. Separate the lemon pulp from the skin ( sans seeds ). Add the pulp to the pan, reserve the skin. Distribute the chicken evenly in the pan, w/ any accumulated juices and cover. Cook for about an hour, checking occasionally, until the chicken is about to fall off the bones. The trick is not to add any water, so that everything will braise in it’s own juice. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a plate and cover.

Continue to cook the onion mixture and sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the whole becomes fairly thick. Remove the cinnamon stick, and add the remaining saffron and olives. Add just enough chicken stock to simmer another 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot to heat through. Adjust seasoning and consistency.

Serve the chicken on a platter, sauce over and around. Garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro and parsley, and the preserved lemon rind which has been sliced julienne.

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