This is what Morocco smells like to me. Lemons, spices, olives and perfectly cooked chicken. This is the dish I have grew up on, my mom made it for me when I asked for it, she made it for me when I just came back from a trip away from home, she made it for me when I was sick and lost my appetite (she knew I would never turn it down). My mom’s Olives & Lemon Chicken Tagine was and is my favourite moroccan dish.
By the time you make it, it will be yours too.
What is a Tagine?
A Tagine is essentially a clay pot that is made to cook stews and sauces. It’s the perfect vessel for slow-cooking, especially if you like to do your slow-cooking over a gentle fire. The Tagine is the true embodiment of Maghrebi Cuisine (Moroccan, Algerian & Tunisian). It’s what my mom made almost daily, and as you will find out from this blog, there is an infinite amount of combinations you can use to make a Tagine.
Olives & Lemon Chicken Tagine.
When I say lemons, what I mean is Moroccan Preserved Lemons. These are lemons that have been cured and preserved in a mason jar. The result of that preservation, is an insane concentration of aroma in each lemon. This is why, moroccan cuisine often calls for limited amounts of this awesome ingredient.
The reason why the lemon chicken Tagine is my favourite is because it has a perfect savoury balance. It’s mind-blowing. The rich flavour of olive oil is very well complimented by the freshness from the lemons and the ginger.
It really is the perfect way to initiate yourself to Moroccan cuisine.
You will love it.
Should I buy a Tagine?
Short answer, yes. Not because you absolutely need it to make this delicious moroccan stew, but, because it is a great cookware to have.
I explain. Tagines are usually made from clay (although there are some that are made of ceramic) which is amazing at retaining flavours over time. Since I make lemon chicken Tagines more than any other moroccan dish, my Tagine smells like lemons and spices that I have used before. As soon as I start cooking it, I can already smell that amazing aroma. Tagines are great flavour enhancers and I personally would not make my favourite Moroccan stews in anything else.
Let me know if you need more information on Tagines in the comments box.
For now, you can totally make this in your gold old sauce pan.
Olives & Lemon Chicken Tagine
- 1 lbs chicken thighs with the bone and skin removed
- 2 large onions peeled and chopped
- 1/2 preserved lemon link in the notes
- 4 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 cup parsley finely chopped + some for garnish
- 1/2 cup moroccan black olives you can also replace with pitted green olives
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat up 2 Tbsp of olive oil in your tagine (medium heat) or preferred cookware and add your chicken thighs to it. Then, place your onions on top of the chicken. This will avoid burning your onions.
Using a knife, remove all the pulp from your half lemon and only keep the skin like the image shows. The pulp is very very bitter and all the flavour is in the skin.
Add chopped lemon skin and parsley and all of your spices.
Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook for 40-45 minutes. Make sure your stew is partially covered with just a little opening to let the steam out.
Don't forget to check on your tagine continuously to make sure that it does not dry up and burn. If you notice that it's too dry (a.k.a the sauce is burning) add a splash of water and cover until the onions or completely cooked.
At the end of of the 40-45 minutes, verify if the chicken is cooked.
Turn of the heat, and add your olives and the remaining olive oil to boost up the flavour in your stew.
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