Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tagine – Djaj Mqualli

It was love at first bite! This recipe has become a mainstay at our house. The salt, the sweet the soft spice!
I called it Tagine because it’s traditionally made in a tagine, but I make mine in a good ‘ole pot. Using a kilo of chicken means you can eat the meal over two days but you could also half the recipe if that’s not your style.
Look for the preserved lemons in your local market or international deli, but beware this dish will not be this dish without them. They give it the exquisite balance that makes this dish so fabulous.
We use our homemade bone broth, usually I have it stored in the freezer. The bone broth gives a good rich flavour but feel free to substitute for the chicken broth you prefer to use.
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  • 1 kilo Boneless Chicken Thighs
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 brown onions
  • 3 cloves crushed fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon saffron soaked in a little water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken bone broth
  • 4 small preserved lemons, quatrtered or eighthed!
  • ½ cup pitted green olives
  • handful chopped parsley
  • handful chopped fresh coriander
  1. To make the marinade, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Rub it over the chicken.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep pot. Cook the onions until soft and translucent. Add the chicken and brown for a a couple of minutes. Add the broth and saffron threads. Bring it to a gentle boil then simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. Add the preserved and olives then simmer on a gentle heat for around 15 minutes or until the chicken is the way you like it.
  4. Throw in half the parsley and coriander for the last 5 minutes.
  5. I serve it on a bed of rice but some prefer couscous.
  6. Liberally garnish with fresh parsley and or coriander.


It’s really a taste revelation, even my 5 year old gobbles it up. I always add some greens on the side to make up the vege content. What’s your favourite chicken recipe?


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