Learn how to cook an easy one-pot Moroccan Chicken tagine with tips on how to take care of a traditional tagine pot. It is a versatile cooking pot with a unique tall, and cone-shaped lid. Although it can be used for all sorts of recipes, the most popular and probably the most traditional dish is Moroccan Chicken tagine. Just like the Spanish paella, the dish takes its name from the cookware it is prepared in. Our recipe is based around the herbs and spices used in North African cuisine to give you an authentic flavour from the region.
If you’re new to cooking with a traditional cast iron or stoneware pot, you may want to check out the list of useful tips for beginners at the bottom of this article. You’ll learn how to maintain your earthenware pot correctly so it will last a lifetime, as well as find some inspiration to try cooking more traditional food from the region in the future. After you have tried out this recipe, you’ll fall in love with this style of cooking.
Simple Moroccan Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 8 chicken thigh bone-in, skin-on
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion halved, then sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 3 medium carrots cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1/2 cup green olives pitted and halved
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- salt to taste
- ground pepper to taste
How to Make Moroccan Chicken Tagine
To get started, add all your powdered spices to a bowl, mix well, and set to one side. In another small bowl, combine one minced garlic clove with about one teaspoon of lemon zest, and set aside. Prepare the chicken thighs by seasoning evenly on all sides with salt and pepper.
Add the olive oil to the pot (without the lid) and heat on the stovetop until the oil is nearly at the point of smoking, then place the chicken thighs skin down and cook them until they are well browned. This will give your Moroccan chicken tagine dish a nice colour and texture.
After about 5 minutes, flip them and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. When the chicken thighs are ready, remove them from the pot and carefully peel off and discard the skin. Keep the skinned chicken to one side on a plate. Pour out the fat from the pot, reserving a single tablespoon that you’ll need later in the recipe.
Next, turn down the stove to medium heat and add the chopped onion to the pot, cooking it through until almost transparent and slightly brown at the edges. Keep stirring the onion as it cooks to avoid any pieces sticking or burning. If the onion still begins to stick, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to the pot to prevent this. Add the minced garlic to the pot and continue cooking for another thirty or forty seconds.
Now, add your spice mix, and stir it into the onion and garlic mixture, continuing to stir for thirty seconds. Then add the remainder of the lemon zest, the honey, the broth, and a pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to unstick any burnt bits from the bottom of the Morrocan Chicken tagine, but don’t remove them – they are full of flavour!
Return the chicken thighs to the pan, including any of the juices which have drained onto the plate, add the lid and cook for another 10 minutes over a medium-low heat. Then add the carrots to the pot, cover again, and cook at the same level for a further 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the lemon and garlic mix and the olives, and sprinkle the cilantro over the top of the dish, as well as a squeeze of lemon juice.
What to serve with Moroccan Chicken Tagine?
Moroccan chicken tagine is traditionally served on a bed of couscous or plain rice. However, you can substitute this for quinoa, brown rice or flatbread. A zesty Mediterranean salad will also work well with this dish. For dessert, serve your guest a cup of mint tea or sweet baklava with almonds.
Tagine Cooking Tips
The tips below are designed to give you an introduction to cooking with a tagine pot. If you look after your earthenware pot well, it will last for decades.
When cooking with a conical earthenware pot, the order in which you add your ingredients isn’t too important. It’s such a convenient method of cooking because the unique lid shape keeps all the ingredients moist, and everything cooks together. It’s the ultimate item of kitchenware for the one-pot meal.
If you’re using your cast iron or stoneware pot on the stovetop, which is the most common method of cooking for most recipes, be careful not to set the heat too high, as you may damage the pot (and also potentially burn your delicious Moroccan Chicken!) The best way to avoid any damage is to use some form of diffuser, usually a thin metal plate, between the pot and the burner for protection.
The traditional pot also works well in the oven, but again, don’t set it to an extremely high temperature. If you have an unfinished cast iron or stoneware pot, you can also use it over a grill or a campfire, but keep the flame level low and cook for a little longer then you would on the stove.
Although cast iron pots are incredibly sturdy, they may become brittle when exposed to very sudden changes in temperature. After cooking, you should always allow your traditional pot to cool naturally on the stove, or on a heat resistant mat.
Don’t place it on a cold counter or run cold water over it as you risk cracks developing. Similarly, don’t put a cold tagine in a hot oven. Place it in the oven prior to switching it on, and let it come to cooking temperature gradually before adding your ingredients.
Other than Moroccan Chicken tagine, there are many other recipes to try. Other popular recipes from the region include Fish Chermoula, Harira soup and Tabbouleh.
For more exotic dishes around the world, visit our recipes section. Try making the savoury dim sum staple, Turnip Cake next.