A tagine is both a cooking vessel and the dish that is prepared in it. The traditional Moroccan cooking vessel is a conical ceramic pot, designed to facilitate slow, low, moist cooking. Chicken thighs are the perfect protein for cooking in this method. They almost melt in the pot while soaking up all of the spice and fruit flavors as they simmer. The end result is a beautifully rich, sweet stew that is as nice on a warm, summer evening on the patio as it is on a cold, dark, winter night by the fire.
Unlike many of the other dishes on this site, tagines aren’t started by browning the chicken. The meat and accompaniments slowly simmer and steam in the moist cooking environment for a rich, tender stew.
If you have a tagine, great, but you can also easily mimic the cooking vessel using a tightly covered pan. This recipe calls for ras-el-hanout, a traditional mix of Moroccan spices. It can be found online or at many better specialty stores, or you can make your own.
Chicken Thigh Tagine with Lemons and OlivesCourse: MainCuisine: MoroccanDifficulty: Easy
Easy Moroccan style stew with chicken thighs, olives, and preserved lemon.
4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup green olives
½ cup yellow raisins
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece of ginger
2 cups light chicken stock
1 preserved lemon
½ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
½ cup loosely packed cilantro
1 tbsp ras-el-hanout
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
- Sprinkle chicken generously with salt, paprika, and ras-el-hanout. Set aside to marinate while preparing vegetables.
- Peel, trim, and slice the onion radially.
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Peel and mince the ginger.
- Slice the olives in half lengthwise.
- Remove the pulp from the preserved lemon, and slice the preserved lemon rind into thin strips.
- Remove stems from the parsley and cilantro, and finely chop the stems, reserving the leaves for garnish later.
- Add half the onions to the pan.
- Arrange the chicken in the pan on top of the onions.
- Evenly distribute the olives, lemon strips, parsley and cilantro stems, raisins, garlic, ginger, and the remaining onions between the chicken pieces.
- Add chicken stock, pouring it over the vegetables, not the chicken pieces.
- Bring the pan to a very low simmer and cook covered for 2 hours, or until the chicken is falling from the bone.
- Serve with freshly steamed couscous and Turkish- or Moroccan-style bread.
- The key to this dish is a low, slow cook, which means it’s perfect for a slow cooker. Simply layer in the ingredients just as in a tagine, and set your slow cooker to low. Depending on the brand and model, the tagine should be done in 2-24 hours.