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Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

When we were planning a visit to Marrakesh we couldn’t wait to try Chicken Tagine. A Tagine is a pottery dish with a cone shaped lid used to make traditional Moroccan cuisine.

The most traditional method is to set the tagine on top of a base heated with wood coals. The meat, vegetables and herbs are slow cooked to perfection.

In absence of wood coals, the tagine can also be simmered on a gas range with a metal diffuser – or you can use a dutch oven or large heavy covered skillet. The key is finding the right ingredients and allowing time for them to mingle together over low heat.

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Chicken Tagine Recipe

Tagine recipes vary and some are sweetened with the use of dried fruit and honey. But the one that became a favorite for us was a very traditional tagine made preserved lemon and olives.

Preserved lemons are made by quartering the whole lemon and fermenting them for a few week in salt and water. The process intensifies the lemon flavor while mellowing the bitterness. In a pinch, you can substitute the zest of one zest and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or salt flakes. But if you can track down the real thing, I suggest you do!

Serve it with traditional Moroccan crusty bread, and rice, couscous or quinoa. And if you love the exotic flavors of Morocco, you can also try this Grilled Harissa Shrimp and Moroccan Couscous Salad from Beyond Sustenance. Delicious!

Related articles about travel in Marrakech and Moroccan Recipes that you might enjoy:

Yield: 3-4 Servings

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Authentic Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe with Preserved Lemon and Olives. This classic Moroccan dish can be made using a traditional clay pot (tagine) or a dutch oven. The resulting chicken will be tender, juicy and full of flavor!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 3 - 4 Pieces of Skin on Chicken, legs or thighs
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red Onion - Finely Diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic - Finely Diced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon (1 g) Ginger Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons (6.3 g) Turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon (2 g) Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon (1.17 g) Black Pepper
  • Pinch Saffron, optional
  • 1/2 Preserved Lemon
  • 2 Cups (475 ml) Chicken Stock
  • 1 Teaspoon (4.7 g) Butter or Ghee
  • 4 - 6 Olives, with Pitts
  • 1 Tablespoon Cilantro - Chopped (about 2 sprigs)
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley - Chopped (about 2 sprigs)


  1. Add the olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, pulp of the preserved lemon, cumin, ginger, turmeric and black pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides (about 8- 10 minutes per side).
  3. Add the chicken broth until the chicken is 3/4 covered by liquid. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the butter or ghee, cilantro, parsley and saffron. Turn the chicken occasionally, and add a little water if the liquid reduces below covering 1/2 of the chicken.
  4. Continue to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through. Turn off the heat, add the lemon peel and olives. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with crusty bread or over rice or couscous.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 328


A special thank you to La Maison Arabe who provided the basis for this adapted recipe.



Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Can i cook this in a dutch oven in the oven? What temp would you suggest?


Saturday 30th of January 2021

I think a dutch oven would work! Try 325 degrees (163 C)

dixya @food, pleasure, and health

Monday 4th of April 2016

i have been dreaming of eating a real Morocco!!! this looks heavenly.


Tuesday 5th of April 2016

It's delicious! And if you're thinking of planning a trip to Morocco - do it!

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