09 Mar2011


Here is a relatively simple, wonderfully robust and flavorful dish that Mrs. MM likes to cook every so often. Served with couscous and some vegetables, it is a favorite meal in our household. Mrs. MM has crafted her recipe from several recipes for the dish in Moroccan cookbooks, food websites, magazines etc. However, you do need preserved lemons to really make this dish stand out. Preserved lemons are easy to do and last for months in your fridge, so I suggest you make your own, recipe here or here. Marinate chicken pieces in a glass bowl or heavy duty ziplock bag together with a chopped onion or two, wansoy or cilantro, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, ground turmeric, saffron, and a touch of butter. Leave this in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.


The chicken pieces will take on a rich color like in the photo above.


Next heat up a tagine bottom (use a heavy casserole if you don’t have a tagine), drizzle some olive oil and when hot, add the marinated chicken pieces and scrape in all of the remaining marinade into the tagine. Add a couple of tablespoons of green olives either whole or sliced, several quarters of preserved lemons and add several tablespoons of water, lower the heat and cover the tagine to simmer for an hour or more. Check every 15 minutes or so and add a little more water if it looks like it’s drying out. Turn the pieces of chicken over after an hour and let them cook another half hour or so until soft, tender and ready to fall off the bone…


If you keep the heat low and manage a gentle simmer, the dish shouldn’t dry up.


A tagine has a conical cover, which collects the steam and it flows back into the dish… a tightly covered Le Creuset or similar enameled pot should do a reasonably good job as well. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. The lemons and olives are salty, so you may not need to add much salt.


The results? Just look at it. Tender chicken pieces bursting with flavor and a nice stewy sauce perfect for mixing with couscous or even steamed rice. The lemons will have mellowed some more, and infused the dish with that special flavor that makes it all the more special. While it may take 90-100 minutes to actually cook the dish, it needs minimal supervision and you can do other tasks at the same time. Definitely a favorite in the MM household!



  1. natie says:

    oh, that looks divine, MM!! now you can have a few bites of that goodness!!

    Mar 9, 2011 | 9:29 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    natie, not really, I have to stay the course and not have butter, salt, chicken skin, olives, etc… and certainly no couscous just yet… :)

    Mar 9, 2011 | 10:19 pm

  4. millet says:

    looks very, very yummy! MM, this would probably work with my lodge dutch oven, you think? how about with a slow cooker?

    Mar 9, 2011 | 10:34 pm

  5. tnm says:

    Thanks for the recipe, MM! Another way to make chicken.

    Mar 10, 2011 | 1:17 am

  6. Footloose says:

    But how can you even get close to dishes such as this without having any intention of tasting it?

    I love the romance of cooking with traditional earthenware cooking vessels but they are so breakable and ephemeral. What will do a similar job is your enamel coated premium pots (or a properly seasoned Lodge cast iron pot) which is a lot less demanding of care to handle and will give you and your family-line several generations of service. I bought a set of three earthenware replicas of the fabulous Staub cocotte to keep one for myself and present the other two to a friend and a cousin who love to cook. The friend broke it the first time she used it while cousin after just a few more times.

    Oh I pronounced tagine like bringe until I heard in a clip that it goes like ta-jeen.

    Mar 10, 2011 | 1:45 am

  7. Joey in Dubai says:

    I just had Chicken Tagine for lunch last week at my favorite local restaurant. I selected it because you’ve written about it and want to see what’s the taste like. It was served in a tagine, of course, but I thought the dish, as prepared by the restaurant, wasn’t something I’d be excited about. Although I finished it off (it was a big serving, good for 2 or 3 people), and I actually cleaned off the sauce with the accompanying bread, I thought there’s something lacking from this Moroccan dish. I’ll try and cook this myself based on Mrs MM’s recipe once I’ve found myself a tagine.

    Mar 10, 2011 | 1:05 pm

  8. Peach says:

    Marketman, are the tagine cooking vessels available in Manila?

    Mar 10, 2011 | 4:48 pm

  9. sheila says:

    sir, where in manila can we buy tangine? thanks.

    Mar 10, 2011 | 5:25 pm

  10. tonceq says:

    I love the color of that Tangine! kind of reminds me of curry.. which is another one of my favorite dishes! :)

    Mar 10, 2011 | 10:28 pm

  11. ka_fredo says:

    mmm. perfect timing to try this out. I had just perfected how to cook couscous properly.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 12:39 am

  12. Marketman says:

    sheila and peach, this particular tagine is made by Le Creuset. I think Mrs. MM bought it at Bacchus epicerie, though I haven’t seen any on display lately. Alternatively, I have seen an occasional vendor of moroccan goods in weekend bazaars, and they had reasonably priced tagines as well. But don’t fret if you can’t find an actual tagine, you could use a heavy enameled cast iron pot as well. footloose, I agree with the single use pieces of cookware… and this one with the odd shape is a pain to store in cabinets which are filled with other items… The eartenware Staub’s are nice, but the metal ones are to die for. We have one large Staub and it’s my absolute favorite… Millet, yes, it would work in the dutch oven.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 4:51 am

  13. alicia says:

    Hmmm. This looks absolutely delicious. I know you said I could use a regular enameled cast pan but eating out of the tangine makes it so special.
    Reason to buy one? !:-)

    Mar 11, 2011 | 8:22 am

  14. kim e says:

    mm, i dont know how you can cook/prepare/serve these mouthwatering dishes and still stick to your diet. i would’ve given up a long time ago. ;p i love saucy dishes with lots of rice. yum!

    Mar 11, 2011 | 8:25 am

  15. josephine says:

    A Le Creuset tagine! You must be rich. I look at them longingly and I know I can’t afford one for the moment, but less so the real estate to store it in. Going on too many euros the square metre…

    Mar 11, 2011 | 8:26 am

  16. Marketman says:

    josephine, yes it was an extravagance, and a gift from Mrs. MM. :) On-line, current published prices are roughly $150, you can get them as low as $110 with a defect or two that don’t affect the cooking of dishes. So I rationalise this by saying if we eat in 3-4 times instead of eating out, then we’ve paid for the tagine. We tend to use the tagine 8-10 times a year, and it’s 4+ years old, so so far the cost per use is amortized to be about $3 or PHP120. Less than the cost of a soda in a good restaurant that serves nice tagines. :) But I agree with you and footloose, the storage real estate is a killer. kim, there is an element of self flagellation when I cook and post about these dishes. It must be the run up to LENT. :) Alicia, I know you and your kitchen and the short answer is : BUY! :)

    Mar 11, 2011 | 8:43 am

  17. louinsanfran says:

    Alicia, I agree with agree with MM on the metrics. If you consider the return on investment for the satisfaction as opposed to the current and opportunity costs, hey can you really put a value on delight for both the creativity and consumption on your own dinner table? BUY!!!! hehehe,but maybe not during Lent.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 10:11 am

  18. Peach says:

    Thanks MM! I shall be on the lookout for the Moroccan goods at the weekend bazaars. Nice to have one in the kitchen. Hopefully I get to use it too. Hehehe.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 10:16 am

  19. sophie says:

    oh MM you make me sooooo hungry now looking at those photos….. i hope i can replicate without the tagine and just make use of a heavy bottom casserole i have at home. but first i have to make preserved lemons (make use of the lemon available in the market) wish me luck :D… and i thank you a lot for all the recipes, photos you’ve shared all these years!

    Mar 11, 2011 | 4:32 pm

  20. melissa says:

    Hi MM! I have seen dried lemons in supermarkets here in Dubai. Do you think it’s a good substitute for preserved lemons?

    Mar 11, 2011 | 6:51 pm

  21. rita says:

    that’s a nice set of tagine you got there, MM. now, i have a tagine-envy. AHAHAHA! i’ll look for one. i can use that on an electric stovetop, right?

    if only i could smell the aromatic flavors of that chicken through my monitor…

    Mar 11, 2011 | 9:04 pm

  22. Rain says:

    MM, Just wanna tell you that this post has inspired me to get a Tagine! I’ve been longing for one for so long and I saw this at WS at 59th and Lex and priced just right. :)

    I’m excited to cook in it. I do have the Emile Henry Pots but I just think there’s nothing like cooking real Morroccan/Tunisian/North African Cuisine in a Tagine! I got the Arabesque cookbook as well to start my culinary adventure.

    I wish you’d put all the Kitchen equipments/cookware in one seperate folder for ease of use. I find myself always returning to them…especially the Woks and fishpans and silver ware :)

    Mar 12, 2011 | 1:01 am

  23. Rain says:

    I also got their hammered carbon steel WOK which is a steal for $20!….now I can follow your advice and get the “Breath of a Wok” or The food of China. I love the Food of Series…what do you reccomend?



    Mar 12, 2011 | 1:13 am

  24. foolishrose says:

    Hi Marketman! I’ve stumbled upon your blog through JJ Yulo’s 10 favorite blog. Last Wednesday lang yun huh. At hindi ko na tinigilan ang pagbabasa lalo na kapag walang ginagawa dito sa office. Hindi naman talaga ako marunong magluto. Maja Mais at Maja de Fruta lang ang alam ko. But I really want to learn and your blog really inspires me. My sister is a BIT in Food Technology student and I suggested to her to read your blog. Tuwang-tuwa sya nung binabasa na nya. ^_^

    Mar 12, 2011 | 11:19 am

  25. N says:


    I checked your post on preserving lemons and noticed too that most lemons at the grocer seem to be coated with wax. Where do you get organic lemons here in Manila?

    Also, you mentioned seeing Morrocan goods at weekend bazaars? Which weekend bazaars are worth visiting?



    May 18, 2011 | 4:43 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    N, if you must buy waxed lemons, wash them several times in lukewarm water, then brush vigorously with a vegetable brush or a medium soft bristled brush and rinse again… this should remove most of the wax. To check, dry it off and use the blade of a knife in a scraping motion to see if there is still a waxy residue on the lemon. You can do this trick on apples as well to see how much wax they have. I find lemons from the U.S. and western markets tend to have some wax, but apples from say China or elsewhere seem to have less wax sometimes…

    May 18, 2011 | 7:59 pm

  27. N says:

    Thanks MM!

    May 19, 2011 | 9:43 am

  28. Boots says:

    I make chicken tagine at home and it’s definitely our favorite dish! My husband absolutely is in love with it. The recipe is almost like yours..and I use the Le crueset tagine as well.

    Jun 2, 2011 | 7:00 am


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