1 hour 45 minutes total time
45 minutes active time
A description of tagine chicken in Kate Christensen’s “The Great Man,” was so intriguing that I created a version. It’s a hugely nutritious dish with olives, chickpeas and peppers.
Cooking Note: The flavors of this dish will improve from a long cook time or even from making ahead and reheating. And it can be made with any protein—not just chicken. I prefer toasting whole spices in a small pan until they are fragrant, then grinding them in a spice grinder.
¼ cup clarified butter, in its liquid state or ghee
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped olives, preferably cracked green olives
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 carrot, cut into medium dice
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, or 2 ¼ cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or water, plus additional as needed
½ red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice
3 cups cooked basmati rice or couscous, optional
½ cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
¼ cup cilantro leaves, optional
Set a 2-to 3-quart tagine or a like-sized Dutch oven over low heat and gradually raise the heat to medium-high. Pour in enough clarified butter to coat the bottom and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken pieces and cook, turning until browned on all sides (they need not be cooked through). Transfer to a bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium and add a little more butter to the tagine to coat. Stir in the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Push them aside and add the coriander, cumin, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne, and cinnamon and stir until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir everything together, adding the bay leaf and using a rasp grater, grate in about 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest (reserve the second lemon for garnishing). Cook, lowering the heat as needed to keep the spices from burning, stirring often, until the onion is completely tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the olives, apricots, carrot, chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, and the browned chicken, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover with the lid and simmer on low for 1 to 4 hours, the longer the better. If you go with the longer cooking time, stir in additional stock, about ¼ cup at a time during the cooking time, if the mixture looks at all dry.
Add the peppers just before serving, giving them enough time in the stew to soften, 5 minutes or so. Season to taste with a bit more salt if needed. At this point the chicken can be served from the tagine or cooled, transferred to an airtight storage container, and refrigerated overnight.
If made ahead, reheat the chicken slowly, adding stock ¼ cup at a time to retain the desired consistency.
Serve with basmati rice or couscous garnished with the almonds, cilantro, and a wedge of lemon.
This recipe is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.
- ¼ cup clarified butter, in its liquid state or ghee
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium onion, cut into medium dice
- Kosher salt
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup chopped olives, preferably cracked green olives
- ½ cup chopped dried apricots
- 1 carrot, cut into medium dice
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, or 2 ¼ cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or water, plus additional as needed
- ½ red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
- ½ yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice
- 3 cups cooked basmati rice or couscous, optional
- ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves, optional