Chicken, Olive, and Lemon Tagine (Djaj Mqualli)

  • Serves

    serves 6


Tagine, the Moroccan stew, shares its name with the terra-cotta pot it's traditionally cooked in, whose neat conical lid promotes convection and even cooking. There are many versions; maybe the most classic is braised chicken, green olives, and lemons in a sauce fragrant with ginger and coriander.


  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 whole chicken legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 12 tsp. crushed saffron threads
  • 1 12 cups chicken stock
  • 6 oz. green olives, cracked
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 jarred preserved lemons, cut into slices


Step 1

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in an 8–qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onions to pot; cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add spices; cook for 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot with stock; boil. Bake chicken, covered, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in olives, butter, parsley, cilantro, and lemons into pot, and cook for 6 minutes. Serve with rice or flatbread.

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