Succulent juicy, spiced and aromatic chicken tagine with apricots and preserved lemons.
Make this Moroccan dinner recipe at home and learn how to use a tagine pot.
What is a Tagine?
Tagine, or also Tajine, is an earthenware clay pot and also the name of a Moroccan meal that is slow-cooked in this traditional cooking utensil.
The Tagine Clay Pot
The clay pot consists of 2 parts.
A flat base rounded at the corners where the dish cooks, and a dome-shaped cover that sits on the lower part during the cooking process which is simply put the lid.
The specially shaped cover serves to circulate the condensation down in the cooking process.
Physics is doing an excellent job by cooking the meat extremely tender on the inside of a tagine.
The Tagine Meal
The tagine meal is a traditional slow-cooked one-pot meal. It's great to serve this to a crowd!
There are a couple of different tagine types, in fact, Moroccan and Tunisian tagines are known to be two totally different dishes.
Since I have little knowledge of the Tunisian tagine, I'll focus more on the Moroccan Tagine dish.
I have tried Mutton Tagine, veg tagine, and chicken tagine in the past and our favorite is definitely the chicken version of this North African dish.
Other versions of this dish may include fish, prune and even oranges.
How to cook it?
Using a tagine is actually quite simple. I'm going to clarify things here!
Find the complete recipe with ingredients and instruction details at the bottom of this post.
Marinate chicken and cook in the pan on all sides.
Assemble tagine by cooking first onion in oil in the tagine.
Add all the other ingredients including vegetables, dried fruits, chicken, preserved lemon and nuts.
Allow the tagine to cook for at least 90 minutes on a slow flame
Turn the chicken and ingredients during the cooking process.
Serve hot when done.
We love our Moroccan chicken served with fluffy couscous, as it is the norm in Morocco.
Giant Israeli style couscous can be used as a side dish too.
Sometimes we serve roasted vegetables with our chicken tagine recipes such as potatoes, butternut squash, chickpeas and brussels sprouts.
How to eat it?
To do it the traditional way, move the Tajine clay pot into the center of a table.
The cover is removed and everyone around the table starts to directly dip with three fingers into the warm dish.
The index finger holds a piece of flatbread and the thumb pushes the food onto the bread before eating it all.
The other fingers shouldn't touch the dish!
A while back I had mentioned in the Moroccan Tea experience, that Moroccan people follow traditional food and drink preparations to the T.
Old traditions have been preserved over time and were passed over to the generations.
Tagines may include apricots, dates, prunes, almonds, pickled lemons. Aromatic spices such as paprika and cinnamon are added for flavor.
We usually serve white wine or rose with our chicken tagine. A fruity rose makes a great addition. Moroccan wines are surprisingly fruity aromatic and perhaps worth a try with this Morrocan chicken tagine.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!
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Moroccan Chicken Tagine Recipe
For the Seasoning and Chicken:
To assemble Tagine:
- 2 Tomato quartered
- 1 Potato roughly diced
- 2 small Carrot sliced
- 4 Preserved Whole Lemons *See Notes for substitution
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Onion sliced
- 5 Garlic Cloves chopped
- ½ inch Ginger chopped
- 5.3 ounces Dried Prunes or Apricots
- 5.3 ounces Presoaked Raisins (just keep raisin in water for 30 minutes and strain)
- 1 Tabespoons Honey
- 5.3 ounces Almonds
- 2 Bay leaves
For the Seasoning and Chicken:
- Combine salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, paprika and black pepper.
- Place chicken legs into a large bowl, season with the spice blend and sprinkle olive oil over chicken.
- Mix to coat the chicken legs with the spice blend and olive oil. Keep marinating for 10 mins at least.
- Heat up a pan with olive oil and place chicken legs into the hot pan.
- Cook chicken on al sides just so that the chicken gets some color. Take out and keep aside.
To assemble Tagine:
- Prepare and cut potato, tomato, and carrot. Slice preserved lemons. Keep aside.
- Place tagine bottom part on the stove and pour olive oil in.
- Throw in sliced onions and saute for a minute or two.
- Add ginger and garlic chopped to the tagine.
- Assemble the tagine by adding the cut potato, tomato and carrot.
- Add dried prunes or apricots to the tagine, as well as previously soaked raisins (without the water). Mix everything while it's all slowly cooking on super slow heat.
- Place chicken into tagine and don't forget to add some honey over the vegetables.
- Spread sliced lemon over the chicken, as well as the almonds.
- Stick the bay leaves in between the ingredients in the tagine and cover the tagine with the lid.
- The tagine needs to cook for at least 90 minutes over slow heat. Open it once or twice during the cooking process and turn the chicken and ingredients a bit.
- Serve hot when done.
- If you can't get whole preserved lemons use 2 teaspoon Lemon juice instead
- You can use apricots or prunes or even both mixed.
- Never add water to the tagine. The liquid that oyu see in the video at the end came from the vegetables.