Main courses, Rosh Hashana, Sephardi, Sukkot

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives

Israel may be the land of citrus fruits, but friends tell us that lemons disappear from most supermarkets at this time of year, through the end of the Jewish High Holidays. The good news is that preserved lemons are even more delicious than regular lemons and every canny Israeli housewife has a jar or two of these lemony gems on hand for use in the kitchen. What follows is an adaptation of the New York Times rendition of a traditional Moroccan chicken dish, but where the New York Times uses lemon juice, we’ve subbed the brine from the preserved lemons, so that with a little planning ahead, our Israeli friends can make this delicious recipe at any time of the year, including for the upcoming holiday season.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine With Preserved Lemon And Olives

Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground saffron
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 chicken, cut in 8 to 10 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, thinly
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 8 cracked green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 large preserved lemon
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup preserved lemon brine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric together. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oil in heavy skillet. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine or heavy Dutch oven with lid. Add cinnamon stick.
  3. Place chicken on top of onions. Scatter with the olives. Slice preserved lemon into thin strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock and preserved lemon brine. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cover tagine or Dutch oven. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, or until chicken is done. Garnish with parsley and serve.