Three years ago I bought a tagine, mainly to be used as a photographic prop. It sat in storage for several years, until I decided to take it out to cook a Moroccan chicken stew. Now I am absolutely hooked- I’ve been cooking lots of stews in them, including lamb, chicken, beef and fish. The conical lid of the tagine allows the steam to rise to the top and then fall back down and circulate along the bottom, locking in the moisture and flavors. No pre-heating of the oven is required- just place your tagine on low heat and the cooking takes care of itself.
Most traditional tagines are made of clay and are not designed to be cooked on top of a modern gas or electric stove, unless used with a diffuser. However, some companies like Emile Henry make glazed ‘flame top ceramic’ tagines that can be used directly on an electric or gas hob.
Émile Henry Tagine- can work directly on electric or gas stove top
My recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives uses a chermoula marinade flavored with preserved lemons, ginger, cumin, ginger and saffron threads. Green olives, chopped potatoes and tomatoes are then added to the base, creating delicious Morrocan flavors! You’ll only need a small amount of liquid to cook your tagine stew; after a few minutes you’ll start to hear your tagine start to bubble away, but no peeking! It’s best to keep the lid on during the cooking.
It took me three tries to get this recipe perfect. The first time, my husband said that this “was not his favorite dish.” At first, he said there was too much lemon taste (I then cut back on the amount of preserved lemon). He also said the taste was a “bit too bland” (I then added a bit more chili and ginger) and I later decided to brown the chicken beforehand to caramalize and lock in the flavors of the meat. On the third try, he said the dish was great and he went back for seconds. It’s great to have a resident taste-tester available!
P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day!
- 2 diced garlic cloves
- ½ preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced
- 1 shallot bulb, diced
- ½ red chilli
- 1 tbsp diced ginger
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- Pinch of safftron threads soaked in a little water
- ½ cup (125 ml) olive oil
- 5-6 chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks with bone in)
- 2 tomatoes (1 chopped, 1 sliced)
- 2 medium onions (1 chopped, 1 sliced)
- 2 potatoes
- 10-12 pitted green olives
- 1 cup (250 ml) water combined with the remaining marinade
- Chopped coriander
- ½ preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into thin strips
- Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined. Rub ½ of the marinade on the chicken pieces and refrigerate for at least two hours (longer if possible).
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown in a separate fry pan, using several tablespoons of olive oil. Drain the pieces on kitchen paper and set aside. Chop one tomato and one onion and spread the mixture over the base of the tagine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the base). Place the chicken pieces on top.
- Cut the potatoes into wedges and arrange around the chicken. Top with the remaining sliced tomato and sliced onion and then push the olives into the gaps. Combine the water with the remaining marinade and pour over the mixture. Decorate with the preserved lemon strips.
- Cover the tagine with the lid and cook over very low heat for one hour. Do not lift the lid or stir during the cooking. Garnish the dish with some chopped coriander; serve with couscous or rice.