The Food of Morocco: Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemon

A country full of richness and colour, Morocco awakens your senses from the chaotic souks of Marrakesh to the vastness of the Sahara Desert. And the cuisine is just as flavourful. As soon as you tuck into one of the traditional dishes, you are bound to fall in love with Moroccan food. The spices, herbs, and mixed ingredients are blended into a unique taste, no matter the dish.

The tagine is Morocco’s trademark dish, a stew slow-cooked in the traditional conical clay pot. The ingredients can vary, but you can be sure of the flavourful taste no matter the type.

So for the times where the wanderlust hits, you can quench it (just a little bit) by preparing one of Morocco’s most mouth-watering dishes: Chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives. We’ll show you how!


5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, pulverized
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 chicken, cut in 8 to 10 pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, sliced thin
1 cinnamon stick
8 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
8 cracked green olives, pitted and halved
1 large or 3 small preserved lemons (sold in specialty food shops)
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, and turmeric together. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Add cinnamon stick.
  3. Put the chicken on onions. Scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove the pulp, and cut the skin in strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cover the skillet. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley on top, and serve.

Bon appétit!

Recipe has been collected from NY Times.

For tasting this meal and many others straight from the source, check out our Morocco trips.

Written by Oana Moldovan, Untravelled Paths

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