This vibrant Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Lemons is simply packed with flavour! Deliciously tender chicken and tantalising spices transform this easy casserole into a feast for the senses. Serve with fluffy couscous to soak up the delicious sauce.
Try also… my Moroccan Lamb Tagine and Creamy Chicken casserole, currently duelling for top position as reader favourites!
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There’s chicken dinner… and then there’s Moroccan Chicken dinner! I think of this chicken tagine as my ‘summer chicken casserole’ as it just looks like preserved sunshine, doesn’t it?
A tagine (or tajine) takes its name from the clay pot with conical cover that it is traditionally cooked in.
You don’t need specialist equipment to make this recipe taste authentic – a heavy bottomed lidded casserole dish (Dutch Oven) does the job as well!
Tagine recipes tend to combine sweet, salty and sour elements – such as dried fruit and preserved lemons or olives. Slivered almonds bring a lovely crunchy texture to the finished dish.
This gently spiced chicken stew has a mild sweet flavour that will appeal to the whole family, especially young children. I used to serve it to my kids back when they were toddlers.
CHICKEN TAGINE INGREDIENTS
- Chicken legs, bone-in, skin on or chicken thighs
- Spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon. You can also use Ras el hanout spice mix which combines all these spices and is commonly used in tagine recipes.
- Brown sugar or honey for a touch of sweetness
- Garlic and onions
- Bell pepper
- Squash or sweet potatoes – or whatever root vegetables you prefer
- A tin of cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
- Dried apricots
- Chicken stock – from a stock cube is fine
- Lemon slices
- Toasted slivered (flaked) almonds to garnish
How to make Chicken Tagine
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!
STEP 1. Pat the chicken dry – do not rinse. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
STEP 2. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the chicken over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side until golden. You might need to do this in batches. Set the chicken aside.
STEP 3. Lower the heat and fry the onion, garlic, bell pepper for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened.
STEP 4. Stir in the spices, salt and sugar and cook for a minute until the spices release their aromas.
STEP 5. Add the squash, apricots, cherry tomatoes and stock. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir everything together. Bring to a boil.
STEP 6. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chicken and preserved lemons. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
STEP 7. Uncover the pot, increase heat to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced and chicken is cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove the bay leaves, lemon slices and cinnamon stick.
STEP 8. Dry fry the almonds in a heavy skillet until slightly toasted – watch they don’t burn!
STEP 9. Scatter the almonds over the tagine and serve with couscous or rice. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon zest.
Couscous is by far the best match for this chicken stew, absorbing the delicious sauce. To cook couscous, put in a bowl and cover with boiling water or vegetable stock. Cover the pot with a cloth and leave for 5 minutes then fluff the couscous with a fork before serving.
I have used giant couscous (also known as Israeli Couscous) in the photos – this will need to be boiled for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Preserved lemons are frequently used in North African tagines. They can have a pronounced bitter taste that might overpower your stew. If you are not familiar with them and unsure if you like them, use a few slices of fresh lemon instead. Try also Opies sliced lemons in lemon juice which have a milder taste.
- I used chicken legs but you can use chicken thighs or drumsticks. Leave the skin on or remove as you prefer. I tend to avoid chicken breasts in casserole dishes as it can get a bit tough.
- Which dried fruit? Substitute dried apricots with dates, prunes, raisins or sour cherries.
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Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Equipment & Tools
- 4 chicken legs or 8 chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper to season
- 3 tbsp olive oil , plus extra if needed
- 2 onions , peeled and finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 yellow bell pepper , sliced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 400 g | 2 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed
- 60 g | 2oz dried apricots , roughly chopped
- 400 g | 15oz tin cherry tomatoes in juice or chopped tomatoes
- 500 ml | 2 cups hot chicken stock , from a stock cube
- 4 slices fresh (unwaxed) lemon halved
- 4 tbsp slivered (flaked) almonds to garnish
- Handful mint leaves to garnish
- Pinch dried chilli flakes to garnish
- 1 lemon zesf only, to garnish
- Pat the chicken dry – do not rinse. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large casserole dish. Brown the chicken over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side until golden. You might need to do this in batches. Set the chicken aside.
- Lower the heat and fry the onion, ginger, garlic, bell pepper for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened.
- Stir in the spices, salt, bay leaves and sugar.
- Add the squash, apricots, cherry tomatoes and stock. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir everything together. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the chicken and lemon slices.
- Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
- Uncover the pot, increase heat to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes until the liquid is slightly reduced and chicken is cooked through.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove the bay leaves, lemon slices and cinnamon stick.
- Dry fry the almonds in a heavy skillet until slightly toasted – watch they don’t burn!
- Scatter the almonds and dried chilli flakes over the tagine and serve with couscous or Israeli couscous (giant couscous). Garnish with mint leaves and lemon zest.
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Charlene Ray says
this was excellent! I only altered it with using a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon since I didn’t have a stick. and I added a handful of dried cherries with the apricots. I also used some morrocan harissa seasoning with the salt and pepper before browning the chicken. I can’t wait to make it again for a dinner party!
This was DELICIOUS! The only thing I did differently was an addition of raisins….for a total of 1 cup apricots/ raisins combined. A huge hit with the family and well worth the effort. Will definitely make again
This was so delicious that I sent the recipe to my entire family! It was a little complicated, so maybe a weekend meal. I used chicken legs, sweet potatoes instead of squash (pre-steamed), and normal couscous instead of pearl couscous, then added chickpeas to the stew and some sour cream as a topping.
This is right up my alley! Delicious!
So many amazing flavors in this dish! I have never cooked with apricots before – I really should have started doing that sooner!
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
Delicious! I love the addition of all the spices and dried fruit!
I’ve been LOVING Moroccan flavors lately so I can’t wait to give this recipe a try! Love the addition of apricots!