Chicken Tajine Mchermel

The Pandemonium Family fell in love with Moroccan food a few months ago after eating at a Moroccan restaurant. We made a few of the dishes ta home, namely the pastilla and zaalouk. But what we hadn't gotten to yet was anything in a tajine. A Moroccan tajine is a thick earthenware pot with a conical lid. The lid is used to steam whatever is inside, dripping the liquid back down again on the dish to baste it and enhance the flavor.

Over the summer I picked up a tajine and a bottle of preserved lemons that were just waiting to be used. So when Soup Saturday Swappers Moroccan Soups or Stews can around as a theme I knew it was time to finally put my tajine to use, however it cracked on the first use and I had to start over and use a regular pan.  So if you see the blue patterned tajine in the picture above in a store, I don't recommend it and secondly, it works pretty well in a regular pan as long as it has a tight fitting lid.

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

To Marinade
2 lb. chicken thighs
2 pinches saffron
1 (13.05 oz.) jar Moroccan preserved lemons
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 Tbsp. harissa paste
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil

To Cook
3 medium onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch salt
punch turmeric
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
green olives

Flatbread or couscous to serve

Combine the saffron and a tablespoon of boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes. While that is steeping remove the pulp of the lemon from the skin. Set the skin aside and reserve. Meanwhile chop the lemon pulp finely. Combine the lemon pulp, saffron water, cilantro, parsley, garlic, harissa, paprika, ginger, cumin, pepper, and olive oil. 

Add the chicken to the marinate and rub to make sure each piece is coated. Place in a plastic zipper sealed bag and let marinate for at least an hour. 

When ready to cook grate or food process the onions until ground pretty fine. 

In the bottom of a medium pan spread the onions and sprinkle with salt and turmeric. Add the chicken and all of the marinate with it on top of the onions. Cover with a lid and turn the heat to medium high. Cook over medium-high for 20 minutes until the chicken and onions are really liquidy. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stew for an hour or until the chicken is fork tender. 

Remove the lid and turn the heat back to high. Simmer on high for about 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened some. 

Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice and top with olives and reserved lemon skins. 

Serve with flatbread or couscous to soak up all the delicious juices.

Soup Swappers

Moroccan Soups and Stews


  1. What a shame about that tajine. It was so beautiful. I hope you can take it back for a refund. I use my cast iron dutch oven when a tajine is called for. Your dish looks amazing.

  2. I have a few different tagine and have a tip. If you are using them stovetop, you require a diffuser which looks like a plate made out of earthenware/brick and can cook on med-low. I also have an Emile Henry tagine which is enameled cast iron so no problems there. You should be able to use all of them on the oven. Too bad about your tagine. 😓

  3. Your tagine is gorgeous!! So sad what happened! Your dish looks delicious anyway!

  4. Mmmmmm...this sounds perfect for a cold rainy day like today!


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