Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Preserved Lemons, Olives & Artichokes

Tajine Spices

Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Preserved Lemons, Olives & Artichokes

Moroccan cuisine is redolent with aromatic spices but the flavors are subtle, never heavy-handed. A tajine is a braised dish traditionally made in a special terra cotta tajine vessel with a flat bottom and a conical lid that collects the juices so they drip back down. While few American home cooks will have a tajine on hand, this flavorful, moist chicken tajine will be quite delicious made in a large Dutch oven or deep skillet. Special Moroccan ingredients used here are a homemade Tajine spice blend, preserved lemons (either homemade or purchased) and green olives.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Moroccan

Ingredients
  

Tajine

  • 3 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 2-inch piece gingerroot peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Tajine Spice Mix*
  • 1 cup chicken stock purchased or homemade
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ pound frozen artichoke wedges optional
  • 2 preserved lemons skin cut in thin strips
  • ¼ cup large green olives pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro about ¼ bunch, optional or substitute chopped parsley

Tajine Spices

  • ¼ cup Moroccan sweet paprika substitute Spanish paprika
  • 2 tablespoons powdered ginger
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground true cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Season the chicken lightly with a little salt (the preserved lemons are salty) and black pepper.
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the skillet and reserve.
  • Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and Tajine Spices to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken stock and chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Arrange the chicken thighs in the skillet and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Add the artichokes and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the preserved lemons and olives and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer to combine flavors. Serve the chicken, ladle the sauce over top and sprinkle with the cilantro and/or the parsley.
  • Accompany with steamed couscous or rice, or mashed or roasted potatoes.

Notes

Chicken Tajine: 1 chicken thigh per person. For a large crowd, double the recipes and cut the chicken into 3 pieces each before sautéing. 
Tajine Spice Mix: makes ¾ cup. Use the tajine spices to flavor lamb, chicken, roasted vegetables or potatoes, or toss with buttered popcorn.
I purchase gorgeous sweet, deep-red Moroccan paprika from Whole Spice (www.wholespice.com) or other specialty spice companies. The true cinnamon called for here comes from Sri Lanka and is milder and aromatic rather than peppery like the more common cinnamon used in America, which is actually cassia cinnamon from Indonesia, a cousin of true cinnamon. I purchase true cinnamon from Whole Spice or other specialty spice companies.
Keyword Artichokes, chicken thigh, gluten-free, Green olives, Make-Ahead, Moroccan, preserved lemons, tajine