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Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Published on Mar. 14, 2024

Chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives in a stoneware pot

Yield: 4 servings

When your usual chicken dishes start to feel ho-hum, here’s a fun, one-pot twist on poultry that’s full of flavor and nourishing goodness. This mouthwatering chicken recipe, a favorite of Munson Medical Center Clinical Dietitian Laura McCain, RD, CNSC, piles on the “yum” with healthy olives, tart lemon, and flavorsome spices.


  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 preserved lemons, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups cracked green olives


  1. In a small bowl, soak the saffron in 2 Tbsp of warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, combine the onions, the 1 ⁄ 2 cup cilantro, 1 ⁄ 2 cup parsley, and 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice. Add the cumin, ginger, turmeric, and the saffron and its soaking liquid. Season with 1 tsp salt and process to a pulpy purée. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the garlic and 3 Tbsp of the oil. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and massage to coat the chicken with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. In a large, heavy pot, warm 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the lemon slices and sear until browned, 3–5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp oil to the pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off the excess and reserving the marinade. Working in batches, sear the chicken pieces, skin side down, until golden brown, 5–6 minutes. Transfer to another plate.
  4. Pour the broth into the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Stir in the reserved marinade and add the chicken and any juices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 40 minutes.
  5. Simmer the olives in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the olives, the reserved lemon, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Garnish the stew with chopped cilantro and parsley and serve.


Recipe from Kate McMillan’s One Pot of the Day (Weldon Owen, December 2012).