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Moroccan Saffron Chicken & Potato Tagine

Try this basic Moroccan chicken tagine with potatoes and carrots recipe when you need a delicious family meal or an impressive presentation in a clay or glazed tagine for company.

Traditional tagine cooking involves slow cooking over low heat in a Moroccan tagine. Chicken dishes like this one typically take up two hours to cook but are definitely worth the wait.

What You'll Need

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1 large onion, sliced into thick rings

  • 1/2 or 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and skin removed

  • Small bunch cilantro, tied

  • 4 large potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices or wedges

  • 1 small or medium onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons ginger

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Handful red or green olives, rinsed

  • 1/2 preserved lemon, cut into quarters and seeds removed

How to Make It

  1. Pour enough of the olive oil into the tagine to coat the bottom. Layer the onion rings across the bottom of the tagine.

  2. Add the chicken to the center of the tagine, and place the cilantro on top. Arrange the potatoes around the chicken, and then distribute the chopped onions, garlic, salt, ginger, pepper, turmeric and saffron over everything.

  3. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the chicken and potatoes. Add the water to the tagine, and place over medium heat. Use a diffuser if you like, but as long as the heat is kept fairly low, a traditional tagine should be safe on a burner.

  4. Cover the tagine, and bring the dish to a simmer. (Be patient, it takes a good 10 minutes for the tagine to heat up to this point.)

  5. Adjust the heat to medium-low or low, checking occasionally to be sure that you can still hear the tagine simmering. See the Note below.

  6. Allow the tagine to cook for about 1 hour, and then turn the chicken pieces over. Add the olives and lemon, cover, and continue cooking for another 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the chicken tests done and the vegetables are tender.

  7. Turn the chicken so that it is meat-side up and, if necessary, reduce the liquids until they are a rich sauce. The coriander can be discarded at this point or it can be left in the tagine if you prefer.

  8. The chicken will stay hot in the covered tagine for quite a while. Serve the dish directly from the tagine, with each person using bread to scoop up the chicken and vegetables from his own side of the dish.

Note: Use the lowest possible temperature required to keep the tagine simmering. If you smell something burning, the heat is too high and the water is evaporating. In that case, add a little more water, and lower the heat.

Recipe by Christine Benlafquih


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