It used to be that if I was reading a recipe that called for a couple of exotic ingredients I didn’t normally keep in my pantry, I tended to pass, assuming it would be overly complicated. But lately, I’ve rediscovered that there’s a total joy in experimenting with unfamiliar ingredients, cooking with new techniques and sampling flavors that mix-up the palate. There’s no better way to shake up the weeknight routine! And the funny thing is, so many of the spices and sauces (like this one) that may seem exotic pack such a major punch of flavor that the rest of the recipe is super simple. I’d always wanted to try making a Moroccan tagine, so when I finally got the traditional vessel (of the same name) for a “Moroccan date night” shot by Kate LeSueur, it was the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. I looked at a lot of different recipes and settled on a version that involved two new-to-me ingredients (ras el hanout and preserved lemons), plus some of my favorites (green olives, roasted carrots and sweet apricots.) I made this one with juicy chicken thighs, though you could totally leave them out for a delicious vegetarian version. It was so good – we served it over couscous, which let us soak up every last spicy drop of sauce. Keep reading for the recipe…

Moroccan Chicken & Spring Vegetable Tagine

*serves 3

Ingredients:

  •  2 bone-in chicken breast halves with the skin left on, each half cut crosswise to total 4 pieces
  • 2 bone-in chicken thighs with the skin left on
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ras el hanout, divided (traditional Moroccan spice blend. Look for it on the spice aisle of the grocery store, or make your own.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 8 small potatoes, halved
  • 4 baby carrots, peeled with a bit of the green tops left on if possible
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 3 preserved lemon wedges, rinsed and pulp removed (or you can also use the peel of 1 lemon)

Instructions:

  1. Season the chicken all over with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and 1 tablespoon of ras el hanout. In a tagine or dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides (about 7 minutes), then remove from the tagine and set aside.
  2. Add the onions and sauté, stirring, for 3 minutes until they start to soften. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of ras el hanout, and give it a good stir. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the pot, including the browned chicken. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is fully-cooked and very tender.
  3. Serve the chicken and vegetables over couscous or rice, and garnish with flat-leaf parsley.

*images by Kate LeSueur

19 comments
  1. 1
    Samira | May 21, 2013 at 7:29 am

    well this looks so yummy and healthy!

    Reply
  2. 2
    Camille Styles | May 21, 2013 at 7:32 am

    SO yummy… and it really couldn’t have come together more quickly. While the tagine cooked, I made the couscous, set the table and got some other things done around the house. After 1 and a half hours, I lifted the lid and — magic!

    Reply
    • kristina | May 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      So excited to give this a try! We have some vegetarian friends that would be blown away with this and I can’t wait to surprise them on their next visit. Plus, any excuse to add a tagine to my collection sounds good to me 🙂

      Reply
      • Lara Pizzanelli | November 3, 2014 at 9:56 am

        I make a similar tagine as well and I serve it with cous cous with roasted vegetables, usually zuchini & eggplant, sometimes butternut squash too…delicious and great for vegetarians.

        Reply
  3. 3
    Quinn Cooper | May 21, 2013 at 7:41 am

    I LOVE a good chicken tagine. They are just so good and even before for leftovers the next day because the chicken and veggies have been marinating for so long.
    When I first made tangine, I also had to go out and buy preserved lemons and ras el hanout and was only able to find it at a specialty store, but those flavors make a difference.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

    Reply
  4. 4
    kelsey | May 21, 2013 at 8:55 am

    oh yum. this looks exquisite. never have had this!
    ladies in navy

    Reply
  5. 5
    FripperyVintage | May 21, 2013 at 10:14 am

    This looks amazing, I can almost smell the aromas!

    Reply
  6. 6
    Melanie | May 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I would like to eat that right now.

    Reply
  7. 7
    Melissa Paul | May 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    delish, delish, DEE-LISH!

    Reply
  8. 8
    sophieccollins | May 21, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    This is such a great recipe, Camille. How would you recommend cooking it without a Tagine? A crockpot? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | May 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      I would use some kind of dutch oven, or large pot with a lid! It will still come together beautifully!

      Reply
  9. 9
    Ada (new york) | May 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Pics look sooooooo good; I almost liked my computer monitor!

    Reply
  10. 10
    Cindy Nichols | May 22, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I am cooking this now but worried that w/o some liquid it won’t cook the vegetables
    etc…the 2 Tbs olive oil certainly doesn’t seem like enough liquid……I will know in an hour 😀

    Reply
    • Kim | May 30, 2013 at 9:20 am

      I made this last night and added a can of chicken broth. I am not so sure how it would turn out without the liquid. Maybe a tagine pot is the trick which I do not own.

      Reply
  11. 11
    southernspoonbelle | May 23, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Love preserved lemons, which are used quite a bit in Aussie cooking– just a small amount gives such a deep flavor to a dish. Beautiful recipe, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  12. 12
    Classiq | May 23, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I usually make chickpea tagine from a Spanish, Middle Eastern and African cookbook I have, it’s one of my favourite dishes, but I can’t wait to try your version too.
    Ada

    Reply
  13. 13
    Georgia | May 24, 2013 at 5:11 am

    That blue plate is beautiful! Where’s it from?

    Definitely making this soon!

    Reply
  14. 14
    Carol Van Dorn | November 20, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Can I use boneless chicken breast and reduce the cooking time? How long would you suggest?

    Reply
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