This one pot dinner simmers with depths of flavor and delicious spices that braise juicy chicken legs in rich flavor. Trying to capture that warm earthy flavor of juicy braised chicken in North African spices, I experimented with this dish several times until it was perfect. The tangy, juicy lemons and zesty olives balance the sweet bursts from the apricots and figs which become perfectly caramelized and textured as you scoop a bite. The layers of flavor continue with earthy cinnamon, cloves, and allspice brightened with coriander and ginger. Follow on below for this surprisingly easy and fool-proof one pot dinner meal! Serve this alongside Moroccan couscous, white rice, or simply mop it up with some bread.
In this recipe, I use red pepper paste such as Minna red pepper paste, or simply make your own by roasting red bell peppers over an open flame (I do this right on my gas stove flame!) Once the pepper is charred all around, set aside until it cools to peel off the blackened skin. Blitz and save in a jar with some olive oil. Enjoy this with many sauces, seafood, or as a sandwich spread!
Moroccan Chicken Tagine
- A wide and shallow clay pot is best, but a ceramic or enamel coated cast iron braiser works well too. Cast iron pot will heat intensely and require less cook time so check the chicken after 45 minutes to ensure it does not dry out.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 potatoes sliced 1/2 inch discs
- sliced onions
- 4 chicken legs and thighs skin on
- 1 tsp salt or as needed
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 wedges preserved lemons
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- 2 tbsp red pepper paste
- 3-4 cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 sliced bell pepper 1/2 inch thick
- 1/2 c green olives pitted
- 1/4 c dried apricots
- 1/4 c dried figs
- 1/2 c water
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread 1 tbsp of tomato paste and 1 tbsp of olive oil on the bottom of the pan.
- Arrange half of the potato slices on the bottom, along with half of the sliced onions.
- Arrange the chicken pieces over the potatoes and season with the salt and pepper. Be sure to sprinkle salt under the skin and over it for good seasoning and to allow the chicken skin to crisp up when it roasts.
- Sprinkle all the ground spices (not the cardamon pods or cinnamon sticks yet), the red pepper paste, and remaining olive oil over the chicken and rub the chicken so that each piece is well coated with the mixture.
- Arrange the remaining onion slices, and potatoes, as well as the pepper slices, olives, apricots, and figs around the chicken pieces.
- Place the preserved lemon wedges over the chicken or between the pieces of chicken.
- Sprinkle in the cardamom pods and place the cinnamon sticks into the pot.
- Mix the remaining 2 tbsp of tomato paste with 1/2 c water, season with more salt as needed. Then pour the sauce all over the chicken, evenly.
- Cover with foil or with tagine lid and place in the oven heated at 400 degrees and roast for 1 hour, until the thick part of chicken reaches 165 internal temperature.
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I found my clay pot in the pictures at Home Goods, which often has similar cookware. I highly recommend clay cookware if you want to try to make Mediterranean or North African stews. cast iron Moroccan tagine such as this!