Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons

chicken tagine



Chicken with olives and preserved lemons is one of my ‘go to’ recipes for clients wanting tasty Mediterranean buffet style food. This recipe is adapted from my well thumbed Claudia Roden’s Arabesque cookbook and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!


Prep time – 30 minutes Cook time – 1.5 hours  serving – 4-6


  • 1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 very large onions (grated or sliced as thinly as possible)
  • one small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • one small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint of chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 handful green or black olives, or mixed
  • 2 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds remove
  • Parsley and coriander to garnish



  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/300F/gas 2. Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole then add the onions, garlic, ground turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. Add salt and pepper and cook on a low heat with the lid on for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and completely soft.
  2. Add the chicken pieces, saffron, parsley, coriander and stock and mix thoroughly. Bring to a simmer, pop the lid on and  place in the pre-heated oven for 1.5 hours.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and cover.
  4.  Reduce the Sauce: Continue cooking the onion mixture and sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the preserved lemon, olives, the rest of the saffron, and a few tablespoons of water, and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, and heat through.
  6.  Place the chicken on a serving platter, pour the onion sauce over the top and sides, and garnish the top of the chicken with the quartered lemon and some olives, parsley and coriander. Serve with Quinoa, cous cous or flatbreads to soak up the sauce.


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