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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 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
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 Leaves chopped
  • 6 fresh bay leaves 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 Chopped Fresh Cilantro 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. As long as you have a good-quality earthenware Dutch oven that will work for this recipe.
Alternatively, here is a lovely Emile Henry terracotta tagine (made in France) click the photo below for details:
Keyword Chicken, Couscous, Lemon, Olives
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!