Moroccan Chicken Tagine is a classic North African dish similar to a stew. Tagine is also the name of the clay vessel where the dish is cooked.
The cooking vessel is a shallow glazed clay dish with a removable cone shaped lid with a short vertical cylinder at the top that allows the stew to vent. It is likely that the use of ceramics was introduced to North Africa by the Romans who had established a military presence as far back as 146 B.C.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine is a highly versatile dish ; you can use meat (normally lamb), chicken or even vegetables or fish. The method of preparation and cooking time will vary accordingly. The slow cooking process infuses the meat or vegetables with rich incredible flavors that burst out as soon as you take a bite. According to my Moroccan friend, the spices vary from region to region, mostly due to local taste and customs.
My Moroccan friend also explained to me in detail how in some cases fruit such as lemons(prepared in a special way) and apricots can also be part of a tagine. He did tell me however, that apricots are found most likely in a beef or lamb tagine.
If you do not own a tagine dish, don’t worry; you can certainly make this in a deep skillet or a crock pot and then serve it in a bowl. I am fortunate enough to have one of these beautiful cooking devices, courtesy of my mother in law. Mine came from Williams Sonoma, but other kitchen stores like Sur La Table and Amazon also carry it.
If you buy one, I recommend you purchase one with with a design since it will serve the double function of a decoration piece in your kitchen. If you have a gas stove, you also need to be sure to use the tagine heat difuser and not set it directly on the flame.
A Moroccan Tagine is certainly a nice addition to any recipe collection. It is exotic enough to bring an element of interest to your next family dinner or dinner party; and simple enough as to not intimidate the finicky guest.
So, next time you host a dinner party and your friends ask “What’s for dinner” You can confidently reply ” Moroccan Tagine, of course!”
One note on the photo above: This picture was taken just before I added the thinly sliced potatoes to give you an idea on the color of the dish when fully cooked. You can then just add the potatoes in layers all around the dish, replace the lid and cook until tender. (Did you really want to see a picture of a bunch of potatoes covering the colorful food?)
Here are some general tagine tips. If you buy a new tagine you need to cure it. Soak the tagine in water for 24 hours. Remove it from the water, dry it off and then rub olive oil by hand on the inside of the dish and lid. Place the tagine in a cold oven and set to 225 f for 2 hours and then turn off and let the oven cool completely. The heat will vaporize the water and draw in the olive oil to season the clay vessel. Once it has cooled it is now cured. Always wash your tagine by hand and do not soak in soapy water. When making chicken tagine I like to buy a whole roaster chicken and cut it into pieces with a large butcher knife. This is very authentic. You can easily adapt the recipe to cook in a dutch oven or slow cooker too. Just check when the chicken is fork tender and it is done.
A tagine makes a beautiful addition to your kitchen for cooking and for a display piece too!
Here are some of my favorites:
If you love to try new ethnic foods here are some interesting dishes that are very easy. These are some of my most popular ethnic dishes, their history and ingredients to make at home.
Explore another tagine dish with exotic flavors in this Moroccan Saffron Chicken recipe.
Cuban Ropa Vieja: A true comfort food of slow cooked beef served over rice.
Recaito: This is the cilantro based ingredient used in many Latin soups, stews and black beans.
Sofrito: You need to have this base ingredient for Latin style beans and shredded chicken.
Latin Style Black Beans: If you have never tried these you are missing out and they are so easy!
If you are having a tagine dish you would typically serve Moroccan country bread or kobz maghribi to soak up all the delicious juice.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
A Moroccan classic. The mixture of spices is rich, complex, and delightful. Serve with the traditional couscous for a fabulous meal with an ethnic flair.
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 cup water
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Roma tomato cored and diced
- 1/4 cup peas frozen
- 3 carrots sliced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (paleo diet: sea salt)
- 3 lbs chicken whole roaster cut into pieces
- 1 lb potatoes (paleo diet: sweet potatoes)
- Peel and slice potatoes 1/4" (potatoes in water to avoid browning while you cook the tagine.
On the bottom of the tagine dish place the onions, carrots, tomatoes, and garlic. Place chicken pieces on top and season with the spices. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Pour over the olive oil. Add roughly 1 cup of water.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour. Check for doneness. The chicken should be tender.
- Drain potatoes and add them to the top of the tagine forming a circle. Cover and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the peas and cook for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
- Serve with couscous* or rice.
- I usually purchase the boxed couscous(gasp) from the ethnic section of my grocery store.
- As a side note, this recipe can be easily adapted to be made in a crock pot. Cook until the chicken is fork tender.