Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Potatoes, Olives, and Preserved Lemon
I made another Moroccan chicken tagine recently – they’re simple, easy to cook, flavorful, and hearty – you can’t go wrong really. During the trip to Morocco in March 2011 we did a tagine class, where each of the dozen of us made a unique tagine – the combinations are really endless! There are some general traditional guidelines, such as, the “savory” tagines often have the preserved lemon and olive ingredients, and the “sweet” tagines often have cinnamon, nuts, and dried fruit. But you don’t generally mix the cinnamon with preserved lemon for example. I enjoyed the sweet tagines but tend to like the savory ones best.
For my latest tagine I started with a recipe (below) from Peggy Markel, and tweaked it a bit by adding potatoes. I remembered from that tagine class in Morocco, how tasty the potatoes were in the final dishes that had them. This recipe called for sliced onions in the bottom of the tagine, and you put the chicken pieces on top, after rubbing them with spices. The onions keep the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the tagine.
Then the potatoes and herbs and some more of the onions went on top of the potatoes, along with a small amount of water. It cooked in the tagine on low heat for an hour, I added the olives in the last few minutes, and a bit more preserved lemon on top at the end. In the meantime I cooked a small batch of quinoa. Really tasty, satisfying, and easy!
Here’s the recipe:
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Lemons and Olives
1 pound chicken chicken parts
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 preserved lemon
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves
1 bouquet fresh parsley and cilantro
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 pinch saffron threads
salt and pepper
1/2 cup purple olives, For a sweeter version, omit the olives and add 1 tsp cinnamon along with the other spices in step one.
1. Separate the chicken into pieces and coat with ginger, turmeric, saffron and 2T of olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Cut the preserved lemons into quarters, and separate the pulp from the peel. Finely slice the peel and reserve for later use. Chop and add the lemon pulp to the chicken. In a tagine or casserole, heat 2T of oil . Add half of the sliced onions. Put the marinated chicken on top. Add the other half of the onions on top of the chicken. Add salt and pepper and the parsley and coriander bouquet garni. (And I added 2 potatoes, cut lengthwise into wedges.)
3. Add 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30-40 minutes. Check the chicken periodically with a wooden spatula to make sure it’s not sticking. Simmer until the chicken juices run clear and the meat is moist and tender.
4. Add the olives 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon peel at the end. Serve piping hot!