Chicken Tagine with Cardoons

In 1989 I began my campaign to restore that wonderful vegetable the cardoon to our hearts and homes.It is unlikely that I have succeeded, but I do know that when people come into the shop they frequently greet me with ‘Ah, you’re the Cardoon Lady.’ I do not object. Tagines are native to Morocco and are an excellent and succulent way of cooking.


  • a 1.8 kg/3 lb chicken, boned and cut into chunks
  • 900 g/2 lb cardoons
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 onions, grated oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 preserved lemons, rinsed and quartered
  • 115 g/4 oz Kalamata olives, rinsed and stoned
  • 8 tbsp lemon juice


Trim and destring the cardoons. Cut into 7.5 cm/3 in pieces. Keep in acidulated water to prevent discoloration.

In a tagine or large casserole, put the chunks of chicken, the garlic, spices, coriander, onions, some oil and some salt. Cover with 300 ml/½ pint of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the cardoons and enough fresh water to cover them (there should be enough liquid to cover them for the first 20 minutes of cooking). Continue cooking for 40 minutes in all. Add the preserved lemons, olives and lemon juice for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Strain off the cooking liquid and reduce to a thick gravy. Pour back over the chicken. Lest you are confused, the total cooking time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.