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Recipe for Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon

Cocoa and Lavender reached a milestone 10th birthday in February – 10 years and over 500 recipes published. At the beginning, I had no idea what to write. I had never taken a food photo, not even surreptitiously in a restaurant. I didn’t have a clue about how blogs work.

How do you celebrate ten years of recipes, food photography and wonderful times spent with friends around our dinner table?

With another recipe, of course. We hope you enjoy this recipe for Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon. Slow-cooked tagines are common in Moroccan cuisine and the North African population in Provence means that the ingredients are easy to find.

Enjoy this recipe full of the flavours of the world.

Recipe Chicken Tagine Green Olives and Preserved Lemon

Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon

Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine North African
Servings 4 people


Ingredients for the Tagine:

  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 5 Whole Cloves
  • 4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil plus more for frying
  • 1 tbsp Coarsely Grated Ginger
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro chopped
  • 6 bay leaves fresh (or 3 dried)
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron threads
  • 3 lbs (1.4 kg) Chicken Thighs boneless, skinless, and trimmed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large Onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 Preserved Lemon recipe here
  • 1/2 cup (114g) green olives
  • 1 cup (225ml) Chicken stock

Ingredients for Couscous with Apricots:

  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) Couscous
  • 10 Dried Apricots chopped
  • 2 Scallions sliced thin, green parts only
  • 2 cups (450ml) Chicken stock
  • 1 Orange for juice
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish


Directions for the Tagine:

  • In a skillet over medium heat, toast the cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes, and cloves, stirring or swirling in the pan, until they start to smoke. Remove from the heat immediately and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
  • In a bowl large enough to accommodate the chicken, add the oil, spice mix, ginger, cilantro, bay leaves and saffron. Mix to a paste. Add chicken, rubbing the marinade over all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Remove from the bowl with marinade but do not discard any leftover marinade.
  • In a tagine or large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put in chicken pieces and lightly brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until just starting to brown about 3 minutes.
  • Rinse preserved lemon well. Scoop out the flesh of the preserved lemon and discard; rinse the remaining peel well, cut into strips and add to the pan.
  • Add reserved marinade, olives, and chicken stock. Now cover tightly and cook over medium-low heat for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (timing will depend on the size of your thighs).
  • Remove bay leaf and discard.
  • Taste juices and adjust seasoning.
  • Place chicken on a warm platter. Spoon juices with the preserved lemon, olives, and onions over chicken and serve accompanied by Couscous with Apricots.

Directions for Couscous with Apricots:

  • Put the couscous in a medium bowl.
  • Place apricots and scallions into a saucepan and cover with chicken stock, orange juice, and olive oil.
  • Bring to a boil and pour over the couscous and stir to combine.
  • Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Uncover, fluff with a fork, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro.


Click here for my recipe for preserved lemons.
The tagine in the photo was purchased in the Arab market in Marseilles and carried back to the United States with great care. It will work for this recipe as long as you have a good-quality earthenware Dutch oven.
Alternatively, here is a lovely Emile Henry terracotta tagine (made in France).
Keyword Chicken, Couscous, Lemon, Olives
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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