Authentic Moroccan Tajine


Chicken Tajine

My lovely daughter-in-law taught me this recipe that was handed down by her mother, and it is a true Moroccan treat! Delicious, and much more simple than one would imagine. The chicken, infused with the earthy flavor of the olives and the preserved lemons, cooks to fall off the bone tenderness. (Drumsticks work a charm, but use whatever chicken pieces that you prefer) This tajine is often served with french fries (made at home, of course!) and called Poulet Frites. However, it is also wonderful served simply with bread, or with couscous on the side, which is how they serve it at Au Bon Couscous in Paris.

For this tajine, you will need:

  • 10 to 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 onions
  • 1 c. green Moroccan olives
  • Marinade

Begin by marinating your chicken pieces. (Photo below)


For the marinade:

  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Pinch good Moroccan saffron
  • ¼ to ½ of a preserved lemon, roughly chopped
  • Handful cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/4 c.olive oil

Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Place 10-12 chicken drumsticks into the mixture, making sure that each drumstick gets coated well. Leave to marinade for an hour or more.

Slice one or two onions, and layer them in the bottom of the tajine, as shown below. Do not add extra oil, or water, because the liquid should onions, and there will be enough oil with the olive oil and the chicken skin to give flavor and to keep the end result from sticking terribly to the bottom of the tajine.


Finally, arrange the chicken pieces in the tajine, and cover with any marinade that may be left in the bowl. Remember, the oil in the marinade is the only oil that you will be using in your tajine, and it brings out the flavor of the dish.

Place the tajine over a charcoal brazier, cover with the lid, and leave for about one and a half hours. You may check it time to time for liquid, but do not leave it uncovered for long. When the chicken is done and becoming tender, add 1 c. of green Moroccan olives, cover, and let cook for another 20 – 30 minutes.


Mmmmm… my daughter-in-laws chicken was delicious! We simply enjoyed it with bread, and we finished every bite!

Now, I do realize that not everyone has a tajine from Morocco, or a charcoal brazier hiding out in their kitchens. That is why I am going to do some experimenting. I believe that I can get similar results either by using a clay dish in the oven, or by using a heavy enamel coated cast iron dutch oven (think Le Creuset) on the stove top. What I am looking for is slow, even heat, and of course a tight cover to keep the steam inside. Once I do my experiments, I will post the results!