Easy Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemon

Easy Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemon

I think this Moroccan dish is actually known by the name of "Chicken Tagine with olives and pickled lemons". I've been doing a lot of thinking about whether to buy a tagine pot (it's a bit expensive!) in order to test this recipe. In the end, I decided it was impossible to have them all and it would be good if more specific recipes could be adapted to the classic kitchen utensils, the ones we all have at home. So yes, it can be cooked in a deep pan and I don't think it's worse than what I tasted at a Moroccan restaurant, I even think it's better.

As for the combination of flavors, I'm quite careful with the new tastes and I don't mix everything in despair. I prefer to taste elsewhere and, if I like it, I work on the recipe at home. So it happened with this chicken with olives and lemon. I tasted it in a Moroccan restaurant in Paris and I really liked it. Since then I've been doing tests on a similar recipe, but in the homemade version. It's extraordinarily good - the colorful and dense sauce, the wonderful flavors, the perfect olives and the lemon right where it should be.

At first, I stumbled because of the pickled lemons. I even waited a month for them to ripen but I threw them away - our lemons, even the organic ones, have a different taste and aroma. I don't know if it's worth the trouble, see in the steps my quick solution on how to make pickled lemons in 20 minutes! Even so, I recommend adding them carefully. I like to feel 1-2 pieces in food, but not too many. They release their taste and aroma in the sauce but eating them is another thing and depends on your preferences. My husband eats them with pleasure, for example.


Boneless chicken thighs
700 g
I recommend choosing organic or country chicken, but the store-bought one is good as well
Olive oil
100 ml
Green olives
150 g
choose the olives that you like, pitted or not
0.5 pieces
Garlic cloves
6 pieces
White onion
2 pieces
Fresh parsley
1 bunch
0.5 tsp
Sweet paprika
0.5 tsp
2 tbsp
1 tsp
I mean dry ginger powder
Ground black pepper
0.25 tsp
1 tbsp
I replaced it with stevia sweetener
2 cups

Step by step


First, I recommend washing and preparing the thighs - cut them into medium pieces. I cut a boneless leg into 3-4 pieces.

I had happy chicken legs, with skin but no bones.


Take a large and deep pan, 28-30cm. Sprinkle with half of the olive oil.

Arrange the thighs in the cold pan, not yet heated.


Season the meat with - 0.5 teaspoon turmeric, 0.5 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon dried ginger, 1 tablespoon salt, a little ground black pepper and crushed garlic.


Sprinkle everything with the rest of the olive oil, about 50ml.

Pour 2 glasses of water on top and turn the heat on.


When it comes to the boil, add in the diced onions and a bunch of parsley tied with kitchen string (or finely chopped, if you don't have string).


Now cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat to medium and let simmer for about 1 hour. It's normal, even necessary, to boil a bit more intense.

In this recipe, the simmering time is essential. This is how the thick and delicious sauce is cooked but, at the same time, the meat doesn't have to change completely. That's why I recommended using organic or country chicken, which takes longer to cook.


While the meat is boiling, we take care of the lemon.

Cut half a lemon into medium cubes and place in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour 1 glass of water on top.


Place the saucepan over heat. When it comes to the boil, reduce the heat, but let it boil more intensely.


Let boil for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates and the lemon gets softer.

Ready! I have quick pickled lemons very similar to the Moroccan ones.


If you have green olives with pits, crush each one with a knife to remove the pit.


This is how our food looks like after 1 hour of cooking, notice that the sauce is still runny.


Now mix and let sit with the lid half open, for another 30 minutes, for the excess water to evaporate.


Look now, at the end. Notice that the sauce is denser, not watery, nicely yellow colored, the meat is beautiful and tender.


Now carefully remove the parsley bunch, if you put it whole.

Add the pickled lemons and olives, mix carefully.


Put the lid on the pan again, turn off the heat and let infuse for another 30 minutes.


I recommend serving this food with couscous or rice.


I don't eat carbohydrates now and I made cauliflower rice (cauliflower crushed in a blender and sauteed with butter, a little salt and turmeric).

It was a wonderful combination, a perfect low-carb treat!


Quantity: 1 kg (4-6 servings)
Prep time: 120 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Ready in: 60 min
Publish date:

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