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Tagine of Chicken with Lemons and Olives

(Djej Emshmel)

From Sarah Woodward, The Classic Mediterranean Cookbook

Serves: ?


  • 6 oz. green cracked olives
  • 1 chicken, about 3.5 lb.
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch saffron
  • salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 large bunch each, fresh parsley and cilantro
  • 2 preserved lemons, or 1 fresh lemon
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon


  1. Cover olives with water and let soak for an hour, changing the water after 30 min.
  2. Remove excess fat from cavity of the chicken, then place it in an oval casserole dish.
  3. Grate onion, making sure to catch the juices, and add to the casserole with garlic, spices, a pinch of salt, and olive oil.
  4. Wash herbs and set aside enough from each bunch to yield 1 tbs. of chopped leaves. Tie the remainder in a bunch and add to the dish.
  5. Pour in just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 min., turning the chicken after 15 min.
  6. Drain and rinse olives. Quarter the preserved lemons and rinse well (or quarter 1 fresh lemon). Add to the dish, together with the olives and lemon juice. Cover and cook 20 minutes longer.
  7. Remove chicken and wrap in foil. Turn up the heat under the dish and rapidly boil until sauce is reduced by half. Remove the bunch of herbs, and add the fresh chopped leaves. Check seasoning: add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
  8. Cut chicken into portions and spoon over the spicy sauce. Serve with warm flat bread or saffron rice.


Keywords: Moroccan, Chicken, Chicken.