This Moroccan Chicken Tagine flavoured with warm and aromatic spices is a huge crowd pleaser due to its delicious and exotic taste.
Guess what?! I overcame! Yesterday was one of the darkest, gloomiest days of spring I’ve seen in a while. As if the spring changed her mind and decided to retire until the next time around. The sky looked menacing, the blustering wind downright aggressive. I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my covers and do the adulting. The newly implemented ‘sensible eating plan’ didn’t allow for the joy of a flaky croissant in the morning, so I thought to myself, “What is the point of getting out of bed?” And there wasn’t any if I am completely honest but Vika needed to be taken to school and I needed to cook. Because it is my job.
So I made this Moroccan Chicken Tagine. I’ve been slightly obsessed with North African flavours of ras el hanout, which first appeared on my blog three years ago in the form of Roasted Vegetables and Couscous Bowl with Moroccan-spiced Chicken. I had no idea how to use it, so I invented a recipe, which turned out to be delicious. I was promptly told off by one of my readers for not using the spice properly or authentically. I learned my lesson. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of research and even attended a cooking class that taught me how to use it, which resulted in Middle Eastern Salad Bowl. I am so in love with this cuisine we are actually planning a trip to Morocco with another family for next year. I simply cannot wait!!
This recipe for Chicken Tagine is although Moroccan doesn’t use ras el hanout spice but it calls for a variety of everyday spices like cinnamon, paprika and turmeric most modern cooks will have in their pantries. It is also incredibly easy to make as Chicken Tagine was created by generations of home cooks and not restaurant chefs. What makes it special is the addition of preserved lemons, that give this dish an unforgettable fragrance and a unique delicious taste. If you are worried about being able to find preserved lemons, don’t be! They are most likely stocked in the ethnic aisle of your supermarket or you can always try Amazon.
Traditionally Moroccan Chicken Tagine is made with chicken parts but I know how much you friends love chicken breasts, so I adjusted the cooking times for them. I also added some butternut squash, I had previously frozen and needed to use up. You can successfully use regular or sweet potatoes instead, which would make this into a great one-pot dinner!
This recipe is delicious with plain couscous or rice although I went a bit more fancy and did a combination of basmati rice and wild rice, then fried it with some onion and 1 tablespoon of ras el hanout and chopped parsley. Traditionally dried apricots would be added to Moroccan rice but I left them out (kids are not fans) and sprinkled with some Pomegranate seeds instead. There were no leftovers.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp curry powder or curry paste
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp mustard powder or prepared mustard
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- salt to taste
- 1 cup/250 ml chicken stock
- 6-8 black olives
- 4 slices of preserved lemons
- 2 cups/700g butternut squash, cubed (I used frozen)
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
- Brown salted chicken breasts in 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large, deep pan for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat on each side. They will not be cooked all the way through. Remove to a separate plate and set aside.
- To the same pan add onions and saute for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook for a minute longer, then add all the spices, return the chicken to the pan, add chicken stock, preserved lemons, olives and butternut squash, lightly stir and bring to a boil.
- Then cover it with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then uncover and cook for 15 minutes longer. Do not overcook as chicken breasts will become dry.
- Serve with rice or couscous.