I first started coming across recipes that used preserved lemons like this dish for a Moroccan tagine with preserved lemons and olives, about this time last year. The idea of preserved lemons was very intriguing and I just had to try them. Since I was not able to find any preserved lemons I finally decided to just make some myself and my first batch was ready to try. Olives are a food that I really enjoy but I rarely seem to cook with them so this dish was on the top of my list of recipes to try using the preserved lemons. Besides, it was the perfect excuse to pick up some nice quality olives to snack on at the same time. To top it all off this dish is braised so the chickens juices drip into the sauce and all of the flavours have a good chance to mingle and get to know each other including those amazing Moroccan spices.
This dish takes a little bit of time and effort, but not too much, and it is well worth it. The Moroccan chicken tagine with olives and lemon preserves turned out really well! Everything mixed together to form a tasty symphony of flavour in your mouth. Every time I try a dish with a Moroccan spice blend I am liking them more and more. I don’t normally use so many spices in a single dish but the Moroccan spice blends seem to work really well. I really liked the touch of heat that the harissa brought to the table and the sweetness of the honey balanced it out well. The preserved lemon peel had a nice texture and really brought the lemon flavour to the dish. Overall I really enjoyed this dish and I look forward to enjoying the leftovers.
I now have a jar and a half of preserved lemons and I would certainly like to hear how you enjoy your preserved lemons.
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch saffron
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 whole chicken (cut into 8 pieces, or chicken thighs or breasts)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
- 1/2 cup water (or chicken stock)
- 1 preserved lemon (pith removed, and peel rinsed and sliced)
- 1 cup olives
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
- Mix the paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper and rub it into the chicken.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat add the chicken and brown on all sides and set aside.
- Add the onion, and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the water, chicken, preserved lemon, olives, harissa and honey, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and mix in the parsley and cilantro.
Slow Cooker: Optionally implement steps 1-4, place everything except the parsley and cilantro in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours before adding the parsley and cilantro and turning off the heat.
Note: You will probably want to go easy on the salt as the lemons are preserved in a lot of salt and the olives are pretty salty as well.
Artichoke and Fava Bean Tagine
Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter Style Chicken)
Apricot Lamb Tagine
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Moroccan Nectarine and Plum Chicken Tagine
Chicken Baked in Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam
Chicken and Date Pastilla
Moroccan Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Quinoa Tagine
Pumpkin and Chicken Tagine
French Onion Chicken
Did this come from The Beautiful Mediterranean Cookbook?
Ciao Chow Linda says
Bravo to you for making preserved lemons, something I’ve wanted to try. How about posting the recipe for that?
I think this dish looks well worth the effort!
Wow! I bet the flavor in this is incredible! It looks amazing. 🙂
Preserved lemons is on my list to do since a long time. Your finish dish is beautiful. Love anything with olives but don’t cook with it except in pizzas.
i love the new banner – the asparagus picture is gorgeous! and this sounds so good!! one of my favorite dinners. i love olives.
Christie's Corner says
I love Moroccan food and can’t find preserved lemons. As luck would have it, I came across a recipe for them just last week. I’ll keep this recipe in mind when my lemons are ready.
I love this spice mix Kevin. I tried a version at home last week and it was stellar.
Nina Timm says
I have been looking everywhere for a Moroccan stew recipe…Thx Kevin, this is by far the best looking one I’ve seen!!!
Looks so tasty.
I have a question since you are from Canada. What are popular or scenic places to visit in Vancouver? I might be planning a trip there next month.
Cookin' Canuck says
Fabulous! I’m salivating just reading this recipe. I love these flavors and can’t wait to try this recipe.
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
I LOVE tajines! Yoiurs looks mighty delicious!
I’m currently on week 2 of making preserved lemons. When they are ready, I think this will be the perfect dish to try.
Lovely dish Kevin! I preserved some lemons myself and they are just sooo good.
I’ve only ever used them in a chicken Tagine dish though (much the same sort of recipe as yours) I too need to discover what else to do with them!
Sembra molto buono.
I’d happily spend a while chopping and cooking if the result looks like that!
Really impressive, Kevin!! I love a good eh,…an excellent tajine!! I love your beautiful wonderful flavours & your colours too! MMMMMMMMMMM…..
Fabuloso! I adore these middle Eastern flavours – so aromatic, so evocative. Looks delish, Kevin!
Happy cook says
Wow really beautiful dish, i have been wanting t make a dish like this, but hubby don’t like preserved lemons in chicken etc…….do you think i can make it without the lemons?
I know he taste won’t be same but still.
I have a jar of preserved limes. I think this is fate!
That is a really great looking stew! I made preserved lemons a while ago, I wish I had seen this at the time!
I’ve never had anything like that before, but it looks delicious.
I absolutely love Moroccan spice blends…I don’t know how they figured out that all those different flavors work together, but I sure am glad they did! This looks amazing.
I’ve never had preserved lemons (or seen them in stores) so I may have to do this the Kevin way and make them myself.
How do you make preserved lemons? I’d be very interested. No clue here!!!
I had a pain in the butt time finding preserved lemons and was shocked on how easy they were to make. Definitely something I am planning on keeping the fridge stocked with.
I have added them to couscous with great success. Past that not a whole lot of experimenting with them.
Peter M says
Kevin, you have a medley of herbs and spices here. I’m definitely transported to Morocco with this dish.
This is my first time here and I enjoyed reading your posts..
E. Lee says
That chicken looks good.
This is gorgeous Kevin – I think I have to take out my tagine.
I know homemade preserved lemons are probably better than store bought, but I’ve seen them in the St. Lawrence Market, just in case you feel inclined to expand your stash!
I like them in lamb tagines as well, and in veg stewas with artichokes and eggplants, sort of Greek-y
I use preserved lemons in a ridiculous number of things (mostly because I’m obsessed w/ them – I make jar after jar of them any time lemons are on sale). They’re wonderful in soups, in salads, pasta primavera, couscous… Pretty much anywhere you want a little punch added to the food. They’re also an interesting, albeit not traditional addition to hummus or baba ganoush, and they’re even good added to risotto.
[email protected] says
I think that definitely looks worth the time and effort!
The picture looks awesome!
Thanks for posting that Kevin!
We can just smell it!
Now that’s what I call a good lunch!
Hi Kevin, this look yummy and is a really beatiful picture, I love it. I love cilantro too.xGloria
we had almost that exact meal this evening for supper! it was the Moroccan chicken with green olives and lemon recipe from this month’s BA mag [http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/fasteasyfresh/2009/05/moroccan_chicken_with_green_olives_and_lemon]. We had golden raisin, almond and cilantro couscous as a side dish, and a shiraz cabernet to drink. Yum!
[email protected] says
The lemons and olives drew me in. This is something very tasty and appetizing and I’m not even hungry right now. This looks like a lot of work, but well worth it. I would make enough to eat for 3 days.
Street Foodie says
This dish was my staple when I visited Morocco a few years back, i couldn’t get enough of the salt lemony twang to it, plus the olives there were out of this world!
I love tagines because you can add anything to the and they will steam away by themselves – I use to add a little pyramid of green beans and potatoes for a side when I cooked this one at home.
Sadly my tagine fractured whilst moving house though!
Oh wow you are making me salivate. I had in fact been meaning to make preserved lemons today. Only thing is I’m low on salt so have to postpone it to tomorrow. I am hoping to try out a chicken tagine once the lemons “mature”. I’m definitely bookmarking this recipe when that day comes.
This looks delicious!
Nice one! I’ve always wanted to make my own preserved lemons. They look so yummy! To answer your questions, if i were to make my own preserved lemons I would make a ton of moroccan dishes and then pick on those preserved lemons whenever I can.
I love the spices in this… it sounds amazing!
The Food Hunter says
I made some preserved lemons awhile back but haven’t figured out what to do with them. This dish looks perfect. thanks
Tangled Noodle says
Most definitely a dish like this is worth the effort! It’s beautiful and I’m sure the leftovers are even better as the flavors deepen.
Paula Pereira says
I just started my first batch of preserved lemons also and this will have to be a recipe I try. I am also really looking forward to making a lamb tagine because lamb is one of my favorite meats cooked Indian style or Morrocan. Preserved lemons are great in lentils, rice dishes, and different bean dishes.
Here is a recipe for white gazpacho which will be perfect for this summer:
recipe from chef zen:
Mrs. L says
What a great sounding dish. I’ve always wanted to try preserving lemons too.
Wow! Gorgeous, just simply gorgeous!
I’m not too familiar with Moroccan cooking, but this makes me want to learn!
Kylie: This is an amalgamation of various recipes that I found on the web. I will have to pick up a Moroccan cookbook so that I can explore more Moroccan cuisine.
Debbie: Sorry, I have not had the chance to visit Vancouver yet though I hear that it is a very beautiful place and I would like to go some day. I hope you have a great time!
Happy cook: You could probably make it without the lemons as there are a lot of other nice flavours in there.
Paula Pereira: Thanks for all of the great links!
Mai Mai says
Hi, Kevin 🙂 Thanks for dropping a line on my blog.
I was surfing your site and this recipe caught my eye. I love mediterranean food and will have to try this one out. I’ve also never tried preserved lemons so will have to try that too. Did they come out bitter?
Mai Mai: You generally just use the rind of the preserved lemons with the membrane removed and it is not bitter at all. All of the lemon flavour without the bitterness! The liquid that they are in is of course really salty and tart.
Alice Gracie says
Thanks for the recipe. I lucked into some preserved lemons at the farmer's market and knew I wanted to make chicken tagine with it. Took a chance on your recipe from all the others I found on the internet, and wow! Amazing taste and easy to make. My lemons were really really salty, even rinsed and with the flesh removed, so with the olives, any more salt added would have been baaaad. But their lemony flavour was amazing. Maybe I'll preserve my own lemons next time …
Thanks again from a newbie to your site.
I've made some preserved lemons lately and used it for your dish. It was delicious. Your's version of Moroccan Chicken is one of simplest to make. Thank you for sharing. Please continue to post exciting wonderful recipes.
I recently enjoyed a very flavourful lemon risotto in the south of France that used lemon confit.
I made this for my family last night, I was looking for a quick tagine recipe, not one that takes hours to make, and this was just the ticket.
My family loved did and so did I. Will certainly make this again. Thanks for sharing your recipes!
Looks great, I always wanted to make a tajine and preserved lemons some time ago. I just didn't have the actual tajine pot. I will try it now the way you made it. Really nice blog and such great photos – what kind of camera do you use?
I took this photo with a Canon XSi (450D).
Great recipe…linked from mmmStuff.com
Jeni Q says
I made a quick and dirty version of this recipe with flattened boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I used the spice base you listed, and subbed garlic powder and ginger powder for the missing vegetables. I used chicken broth, honey and preserved lemons to make a quick sauce.
I served the chicken with leftover rice to soak up the sauce. So yum.
Thanks for posting this. I was dying to make something with my lemons (besides eating them right out of the jar!).
I just made this dish for dinner. Had some chicken thighs and wanted a quick meal. It's delicious. The honey and harissa added a layer of complexity that I love. Thanks for sharing it.
Callie Grayson says
my mouth is watering! this looks so delicious!!
I will have to make this very soon, it has all my favorites!!!!
Hey Kevin! This looks really appetizing. As a matter of fact, I had already seasoned the chicken as we speak. I had to put cooking off for a couple of days because I'm missing a couple of ingredients. I condensed the other spices by buying garam masala instead since spices can be very expensive if bought separately. I had to buy the turmeric though since it seems to be the common denominator between tagine recipes I found so I guess it's one of the key ingredients.
Your recipe has been my main reference for making this moroccan dish. I hope I can make it as good as yours look. Thank you for posting this recipe.
I hope people don't get intimidated by the hefty list of ingredients. It's really easy.
Thanks once again.
I forgot to ask, are the preserved lemons purely for flavor or they are edible part of the recipe? I know this question sounds silly but I just want to know. I have never tried this recipe before let alone preserved lemons.
janislrobles The preserved lemons are completely edible! The lemon rind becomes soft after preserving it and it has an amazing lemon flavour. Generally you remove the pith and rinse the preserved lemon to cut down on the saltiness from preservation. Enjoy the tagine!
I like it, although you don't need to remove the flesh of your preserved lemons, just rinse them and make sure you don't add any extra salt – you can always add some at the end… If you love Lamb & Preserved Lemons, here's a recipe that you may love, especially good for a winter evening… http://foodfromourlife.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/i-think-this-is-my-favourite-moroccan-meal/ It's one of the most authentic Moroccan recipes you will ever have. I can say that as Hubby is Moroccan, I hope you don't mind me sharing this with you 😀
Thought I would finally leave a comment after cooking this several times. It's such a wonderful recipe–thank you!
I have been playing with it a little–I use chicken thighs (tried with breasts once and actually prefer the thighs), carton of Pomi tomatoes along with a a little water, and I add the lemon at the last 5 minutes as I found it a little salty otherwise.
I have been serving with red rice cooked with some curry powder, chicken stock and mixed raisins.
A little Greek yoghurt on the side is nice too.
Michelle Katz says
This was D-licious!! Very good served over brown rice. The instructed cooking time was a bit too long for my chicken.
Thank you for the recipe!
Lovely – making your own preserved lemons is one of the best things ever. I've tried expensive deli lemons and they're not a patch on mine!!! I'm very surprised you recommend RINSING the peels. I would suggest you do not – instead take your time to lick your fingers thoroughly.
Emily Kirsch says
I can WAIT to make this for dinner tonight! I love Moroccan flavors.
I have to tell you. This looks like the most amazing chicken dish ever – I can just imagine the flavors. I have pinned this on my "Recipes I want to try" board on pinterest and will be trying it soon. I really love the blog.
This chicken dish is truly amazing! I tried it tonight using chicken legs and thighs. The flavours were distinctly Moroccan. I served it with couscous that was made with sundried tomatoes and chopped parsley. Thanks for the inspiration and these great recipes!
Im looking forward to making this tonight, thank you so much for this recipe 🙂
I made this last night and it was delicious! There was some multi-layered taste awesomeness going on with all the lemon and spice. I will definitely make it again!
Anonymous: I am glad that you enjoyed it! I love Moroccan dishes like this with all of the layers of flavour that work so well together!
I want to try making my own Lemon Preserves – have a lemon tree and never know just what to do with all those wonderful lemons! Even after reading all the posts though I am still confused. Do you use just the lemon rind in the recipe – removing the" fruity" part? Or do you use both the rind and fruit? I see mention of removing the "pith" – do you mean the actual pulpy fruit? Also, do you think you could preserve key limes the same way?
wrightgal: Preserved lemons are actually really easy to make. You pickle the whole lemon (quartered) and when you use it in a recipe you generally remove the "fruity" part and use the skin (both the yellow and the white parts). The "fruity" part has a lot of salt in it so it is generally not used but it can be. Check out my recipe for preserved lemons: https://www.closetcooking.com/2009/05/preserved-lemons.html
Lynn Rossetto Kasper's recipe for Roasted Carrots with Allspice in "How to Eat Weekends" uses preserved lemons. We really enjoyed the recipe.
Jodee Weiland says
This looks so good, Kevin! My mouth is watering in anticipation of all these perfectly blended ingredients in this dish. Love it! You really have a talent, my friend…thanks for sharing!
Could this be made in the oven, and if so what temperature and for how long would you suggest? Thank you.
tammy: Yes, trasfer it to the oven after adding verything and bake, covered, until the chicken is done, about 45-60 minutes.
Made this last night, with just a couple changes (Hubby unfortunately hates cilantro hehe), and it was great! 🙂
Kathi Petersen says
I made this tonight, it was a huge hit. I made enough for at least two meals with leftovers, and it is ALL GONE! Love your recipes, thanks!!
Kathi Petersen: I'm glad you enjoyed it!
This is simmering away on the stove as I type this! Smells and looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.
Oh jeez, this was stunning. Much easier to make than I anticipated, and I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike most online recipes, all of the cook times and instructions fell together perfectly. My end product even looked like the picture! The chicken was so tender and flavorful, and the heat was spot on. Had a lot of compliments, and am definitely not going to work through more recipes on this blog. Thanks so much!!
Wow, wow, wow….I’ve had your recipe saved for over a month – waiting for my lemons to preserve 🙂
This recipe was fantastic. I made it in the slow cooker . My note to self is next time add some more broth. I was ready to lick out the slow cooker! Yummm. I didn’t have harissa , so added some sriracha and some red pepper flakes. Thank you. I’m looking forward to making more of your recipes.
Made it for dinner tonight and we loved it! I used Sambal Oelek as I didn’t have harissa, and used your recipe for the preserved lemons. Thanks Kevin for another great recipe!
Lynne J says
Happy Wednesday Kevin! I made this chicken last night and we all scarfed it down, it was delicious 😋! I rarely make a recipe without wanting to change half of it the next time. Your spices were spot on, it was a really easy recipe, I appreciate not having to wade thru unnecessary directions. Straight to the point, thanks. I used 8 skinless chicken thighs. The only thing different that I did was to add 1 cup dried apricots and 1/2 bag of baby carrots just to bulk it up a bit. Neither changed the flavor of your recipe, just stretched a bit. Other than that I made this as written. Like I said, that rarely happens, so good job! Oh, we mopped up every bit of juices with some warm naan bread.