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Moroccan chicken tagine with olives, preserved lemons and couscous

Craving a rich, fragrant stew that delectably satisfies your need for comfort food while also feeding your desire for experiencing different cuisines? Make our Moroccan chicken tagine with olives, preserved lemons and couscous, inspired by Chew Nibble Nosh, and your hunger yearnings will be appeased.

Laden with intoxicatingly aromatic Moroccan spices, this palate-pleasing chicken dish features juicy chicken pieces exuding garlic and ginger flair while bathing in a thick sauce flavorfully punctuated with lemons, olives, harissa and honey. We serve chicken tagine atop tender couscous studded with raisins and brightened with fresh parsley.

ALSO TRY: Instant Pot butter chicken

What exactly is a tagine, you ask? The word tagine has two specific meanings. First, it refers to the traditional clay or ceramic cooking vessel used predominantly in Morocco or Northern Africa. The bottom of the tagine is a shallow round dish while the top is a conical shape. The tagine is often brought to the table for an eye-widening presentation. The second meaning of tagine refers to a succulent stew that is slow cooked in the uniquely-shaped earthenware vessel.

Since tagine cookware isn’t commonplace in most kitchens, we’re giving you a chicken tagine recipe that is conveniently cooked in a cast iron casserole dish. Though this sensational stew isn’t served as dramatically as a traditional tagine, the tongue-thrilling flavors of this dish will transport your tastebuds to a Moroccan cafe. Let’s cook!

Stir together spices for the Moroccan flavor

In a large bowl, combine paprika, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper.

Add chicken to the bowl

Add the chicken to the spices and use tongs to completely coat the chicken with the tasty rub, then let the chicken sit in the spices to absorb the fabulous flavors.

Brown chicken in a cast iron baking dish

On the stovetop, heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish. Brown the fragrant chicken pieces on both sides then transfer it to a plate and set aside.

Add sliced onions, garlic, ginger and flour to pan

Add the onion to the casserole dish and stir often until the onions are tender and translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook just until fragrant, then sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the onion mixture.

Pour chicken broth over the onion mixture

Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the dish. This will create a delicious sauce for your chicken.

Add chicken to the onion and sauce mixture

Add the chicken pieces back to the casserole dish, nestling them into the sauce and coating them completely.

Top with lemon, olives, Harissa, and honey

Cover the casserole dish and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, to make your couscous…

Bring chicken broth to a boil then stir in the couscous. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for five minutes.

Finish off couscous with garnishment

After it is done cooking, fluff the couscous, pour it into a bowl and then add the raisins and fresh parsley.

Serve your chicken with the couscous

Spoon generous helpings of the chicken mixture on top of your couscous and serve.

This is the perfect comfort food dish

Grab and spoon and dig in!

Look at all those beautiful ingredients and colors

Moroccan chicken tagine with olives, preserved lemons and couscous

Yield 4 servings



  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken breasts and thighs, cut into large equal-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 small preserved lemons, cut into quarters
  • 3/4 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 tablespoon harissa, or another type of chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley


  1. In a large bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  2. Place all of the chicken pieces in the bowl tossing in the spice mixture until the chicken is completely coated. Allow the chicken to sit in the spice rub for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a cast iron casserole dish. Remove the chicken from the bowl.
  4. One piece at a time, add the chicken to the oil and brown on all sides.
  5. Once browned, remove the chicken from the casserole dish and set aside.
  6. Add the sliced onion to the dish and saute until the onions are translucent.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and ginger to the dish and cook until fragrant, about a minute.  
  8. Add flour and stir to coat the onions, garlic, and ginger.
  9. Add the broth, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the dish.
  10. Return the chicken to the pan.
  11. Add the preserved lemon, olives, harissa and honey. 
  12. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring 2-1/2 cups of chicken broth to a boil.
  14. Add the couscous, stir and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until all of the broth is absorbed and the couscous is soft.
  15. Place couscous in a large bowl and fluff with fork. Gently stir in the raisins and parsley.  
  16. To serve, place couscous on a platter. Top with the chicken and sauce. Garnish with additional chopped fresh parsley.

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