Moroccan Chicken Tagine With Potatoes and Olives

chicken with olives in tagine
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon Confit and Olives. Christine Fleurent/Getty Images
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4 or 5.
Ratings (8)

This easy Moroccan chicken dish is a family favorite and sure to become one in your home as well. I usually make it as my friend Souad taught me – in a heavy-bottomed pot with lots of sauce which is traditionally sopped up with Moroccan bread.

What You'll Need

  • 1 chicken, skin removed and cut into pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 or 4 large potatoes
  • one or two handfuls of red olives
  • 1 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds removed (optional)

How to Make It

Conventional Pot Method

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the chicken, onion, garlic, spices, parsley and oil. Cook, covered, over medium heat, without adding water, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is almost done. Stir occasionally to turn the pieces of chicken, and watch the heat so that the chicken doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
  2. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Add them to the pot, along with the olives, preserved lemon, and enough water to almost cover the potatoes. Bring the liquids to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is quite thick.

    Traditional Tagine Method

    1. Slice the onion instead of chopping it, and spread the onion slices on the bottom of a large tagine. Peel the potatoes and thinly slice them and layer them on top of the onions. (Or, you can cut the potatoes into wedges, and arrange them around the chicken after completing the next step.)
    2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, spices, and parsley. Add the chicken to the tagine Swirl 1/2 cup of water in the bowl to mix it with the spices, and add this water to the tagine. Pour the olive oil over all, and distribute the olives (and preserved lemon, if using) over the chicken and potatoes.
    3. Cover the tagine and place it on a diffuser over medium-low to medium heat. Allow the tagine ample time to reach a simmer, and then reduce the heat to the lowest temperature necessary to maintain the simmer.
    4. Interrupt the cooking after 1 hour and 15 minutes to check on the level of liquids. If you feel a little more water is needed, add it to the tagine, keeping in mind that the final sauce should be thick and not watery.
    5. Continue cooking the tagine, covered, for another 30 minutes or more, until the chicken and potatoes are very tender. Let the tagine rest off the heat for about 10 minutes before serving.

    Recipe Tips

    The addition of preserved lemon is optional; if using it, you will probably want to go easy on the salt and make adjustments to seasoning at the very end.

    Cooking time is for conventional stove top preparation. Double this time if cooking in a tagine. Directions for both methods are below.