Tagine of Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon

Tagine of Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon


  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cumin and paprika
  • pinch of saffron filaments, crushed
  • sea salt and finely ground black pepper
  • 1 free-range chicken (about 3 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley , bottom stems discarded, minced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, bottom stems discarded, minced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
  • 1 large preserved lemon, peel only, cut lengthwise into strips
  • 1 cup green and/or purple olives


Tajen Djaj Mchermel. Serves 4-6. Put the garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, saffron, a little salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in large Dutch oven. Mix together. Add the chicken and rub it well inside and out with the spice mixture. Add the onions and herbs. Half cover with water (about 3-1/2 cups) and drop in the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the oil and butter. Cover and let boil for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Discard the cinnamon stick. Boil the broth uncovered for a further 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until concentrated. Add the lemon juice, preserved lemon peel, and olives and simmer for a few more minutes. About 5 minutes before the sauce is ready, cut up the chicken neatly into 8 pieces (remove the skin if you like), then return to the pan, turning the pieces carefully in the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. transfer to a serving dish and serve very hot.

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