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Chicken Tagine

SueSue Byrom

Preserved lemons are available at many Middle Eastern Markets and at some Whole Foods Markets, where two lemons cost about $1.50. They keep for months.

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Serves 4

Chicken Tagine by Sue Byrom
Serves 4
Chicken Tagine by Sue Byrom
Serves 4


  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 4 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
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  • 1

    In a bowl, with your fingers, crush the saffron threads with the salt. Remove the lemon flesh from the rind. Save one piece of lemon rind for the garnish. Chop the lemon flesh coarsely. Add the lemon flesh and a 2-inch piece of lemon rind to the saffron with the garlic, turmeric, ginger, pepper, onion, tomato, and ghee or butter. Toss well.

  • 2

    Sprinkle the saffron mixture on the chicken legs on both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to half a day.

  • 3

    In a tagine pan or large flameproof casserole, heat the oil. Add the chicken legs and 2 tablespoons of the water. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

  • 4

    Add the remaining water to the pan. Turn the legs skin side down. Set on the cover askew. Continue cooking the chicken for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. (Total cooking time is 45 minutes.) Remove the lemon rind from the pan and discard it.

  • 5

    Turn the chicken skin side up. With kitchen shears, cut between the leg and drumsticks.

  • 6

    Take the reserved piece of lemon rind and cut 4 slits in it, but not all the way through, so the piece resembles a hand. Sprinkle the chicken with olives, parsley, and coriander. Garnish with the lemon “hand.”

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