Lemon and olive tagine

Lemon and olive tagine

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin


Quantity Ingredient
2 x 1.2kg chickens, quartered, with their livers if possible
6 garlic cloves
25g salt
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon extra
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
60ml olive oil
2 large onions, grated and drained
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron strands, (mixed with a little turmeric if desired)
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped coriander
450ml water, plus extra if needed
225g mixed green and black olives
2 preserved lemons
1-2 lemons, juiced


  1. One day before cooking, marinate the chicken. Pound 2 garlic cloves with 25 g of the salt in a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste. Rub this over the chicken (and livers, if using). Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Rinse the remaining garlic under cold water until the water no longer smells like garlic. Thinly slice and combine with the ground ginger, sweet paprika, cumin, black pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt and the oil. Rub this mixture all over the chicken and the livers, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Place the chicken and the marinade in a large flameproof casserole dish or slow cooker, along with 4 tablespoons of the grated onions, the saffron, fresh herbs and water. Bring to the boil, cover and cook gently for 20 minutes, turning the chicken in the sauce.
  4. Meanwhile, rinse and pit the olives if needed. If using livers, remove them from the casserole and mash them finely using a mortar and pestle. Return to the casserole. Stir in the remaining grated onions and pour in a little more water if necessary. Continue to cook, partially covered, for 10–15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Rinse the preserved lemons, discarding the pulp if necessary, and quarter. Once the chicken is cooked, add the olives and preserved lemons to the casserole. Continue cooking, uncovered, for a further 5–10 minutes.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and spoon over the olives and lemons. Cover and keep warm while you boil the remaining liquid to reduce it to roughly 400 ml. Stir in the lemon juice, check the seasoning and adjust to taste if necessary. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
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