Morocco – Chicken and Lemon Tagine

I love lemons.  I can’t explain how much I love them.  My favourite cake is lemon drizzle.  I love those sugar coated lemon slices you get at Christmas and don’t even get me started on Limoncello (or remind me of that night I spent trying all the free samples in Sorrento).  So when I decided to cook a Moroccan dish I was drawn straightaway to a tagine involving lemon.  I have never tried preserved lemons before (although claim to fame, Christine Hamilton once asked me for a jar of them when I worked in Sainsbury’s), but I thought they’re lemons what’s not to love.  Well how wrong I was.  The tagine smelt and tasted amazing but every now and then I would get a mouthful of metallic, soapy mush.  The little greeny, yellow morsels gave such a blast of flavour that every following mouthful was tainted by their intensity.  So, I don’t like preserved lemons, which is a bit annoying as now I have a giant (expensive) jar of them staring back at me every time I open my fridge.

Now you may think it strange that I have included a recipe that I didn’t like, but apart from the lemons the tagine was amazing, the chicken melted off the bone and the fennel yielded a sweet aniseed flavour that mixed perfectly with the seasoned couscous.  Also everyone else that tried it, liked it, lemons and all.  So if you are a fan of preserved lemons feel free to try the recipe as written, if not swap the lemons for a 100g green olives.  Whichever way you try it, enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6


  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken thighs (bone-in)
  • 1 bulb fennel – chopped into wedges
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 preserved lemons – deseeded and chopped
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt & pepper to season

For the Marinade

  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 3tsp olive oil


Put the chicken in a bowl.  Mix the cumin, coriander seeds, ginger and oil together and use to coat the chicken pieces.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Heat some olive oil in a tagine or casserole dish.  Fry a couple of pieces of chicken at a time, skin side down, until golden.

Put all the chicken in the pot and add the fennel wedges, onion and garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat then add the saffron, lemons and stock.  Stir everything together and cover the pot with the tagine lid (or if using a casserole dish cover with foil and then the lid).  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ hours.  Half way through check the dish, if it looks dry add a splash of water.

When ready check for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve with hot couscous.


One response to “Morocco – Chicken and Lemon Tagine

  1. Tagine – Karen, you may not have time, but since your lemons need using withing the next 6 weeks maybe I can rescue your opinion of pickled lemons.

    Same recipe, but add maybe 4 or 6 dried apricots (halved) and 2 or 3 dates (not the chewy ones) halved with the stone out.

    They’ll take the bitterness off the lemon, but leave the flavour there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s