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This chicken with preserved lemons and green olives, I can assure you, is plenty flavorful and colorful, too: the various spices in the ras-el-hanout, most likely the turmeric and paprika, imbue the dish with an inviting and appetizing yellow hue throughout. //

Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Green Olives

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: alexandra
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2


I have been using a 10-inch tagine, but I probably should be using a larger one. It works, but it’s definitely crowded and stirring can be a little tricky. Two or three bone-in, skin on chicken pieces is probably ideal for this size tagine. Also, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and the cooking will take half the time, but I don’t think it’s quite as tasty as using the bone-in, skin-on pieces. You also could use breasts, but as you know, I am not a fan. You also do not need a tagine to make this dish. Before I bought a tagine, I used my everyday pan, which worked well. I had to use a little more water, but otherwise, the process was the same. OK, the two ingredients you will need to make or find to make this dish are preserved lemons and ras-el-hanout. I posted two recipes for preserved lemons a little while ago, but if you know where to buy them, go for it. At the Tara Kitchen cooking class I attended, I learned that Aneesa purées her preserved lemons and uses spoonfuls of the purée in her dishes, and so I did the same. As for the ras-el-hanout, I have not yet tried mixing up my own, so I have two thoughts for you: 1. To keep things simple, find a pre-mixed ras-el-hanout from a spice market or online source. 2. Try mixing up your own (then email me your recipe). Aneesa’s contains 14 different spices: paprika, parsley, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves, star anise, cumin, coriander, thyme, fenugreek, pepper, turmeric and ginger. This recipe looks promising, though I can’t say for sure. As soon as I take a stab at this, I will report back. Another thing I learned was that fresh cilantro is not common in Moroccan cooking. I love fresh cilantro and loved it in a tagine recipe that one of you sent me, but I wanted to keep the recipe provided here as similar to what I learned in class as possible. Feel free to use some here, however, if you like it. Ground coriander, on the other hand, is common in Moroccan cooking and is often included in ras-el-hanout. Finally, raisins are not typical in this dish — they are Aneesa’s addition — but I really like the sweetness they offer especially against the saltiness of the olives and preserved lemons.


  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ras-el-hanout
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons preserved lemon purée
  • handful of green olives (I like them with the pits, but buy what you like)
  • handful of raisins, preferably golden
  • handful of chopped parsley, or more or less to taste
  • 4 pieces bone-in, skin-on dark meat chicken
  • pita, naan or some sort of flatbread or couscous or rice for serving


  1. Place all of the ingredients (using the 1/4 cup of water to start) in the base of the tagine. Cover it and set it over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the lid (using a towel or pot holder) and give everything a stir. The liquid should be gently bubbling. If the moisture level is looking low, add another 1/4 cup water.
  3. Return the lid and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the liquid bubbling. Check again and dip a spoon into the sauce to taste. If it needs salt, add a pinch or add another spoonful of preserved lemon purée. Continue cooking until the meat is pulling from the bone. The liquid should be bubbling vigorously at this point. Serve with warm bread or couscous or rice.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes