Chicken Tagine with Lemon and Olives


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    Hearty Portions

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The delicate spices and jewelled fruitiness prevalent in Arabic food beautifully combine with the more fiery, tangy flavours of Indian influence in this classic tagine. I’ve had some fabulous tagines in the belly-dancing bars of North Africa, but my favourites are the simpler versions created by the cooks, Aicha and Sophia, at my friend’s riad in Marrakesh. If I close my eyes, this dish sends me straight back to their jasmine-scented home in the heart of the medina.


  • 1.8kg/4lb chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Thin slices of rind cut from 1 preserved lemon
  • 150g/5oz pitted green olives
  • 60g/oz raisins
  • 120ml/4fl oz water
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Pat the chicken pieces dry. Place them in a large bowl and sprinkle with the spices. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands to make sure the meat is well coated. Set aside for an hour.

When ready to cook the chicken, pour a few glugs of olive oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Heat the oil on a medium heat and add the chicken pieces. Brown gently, adding a little salt. Then lower the heat, add the garlic and onions, cover the pan and let it all gently cook together for 15 minutes.

Now open the lid and turn the chicken pieces over. Add the preserved lemon rind, olives, raisins and water. Bring to a simmer, then take the heat down to a low setting again, cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked all the way through.

Stir in the fresh coriander and parsley and serve with nice plain couscous and a bowl of yoghurt. Delicious.