Chicken tagine with preserved lemons, green olives and thyme

  • serves 4
  • A little effort

Make this fragrant Moroccan-style tagine as an alternative to Sunday lunch or as a special meal for friends. The rich preserved lemon and olive sauce keeps the chicken really juicy. Serve with a large bowl of buttered couscous.


Try this chicken and lemon tagine, then check out our lamb tagine and vegetarian tagine.



  • chicken 1, about 1.5 kg whole or in joints
  • olive oil 1 tbsp
  • butter a small knob
  • preserved lemons 2, cut into strips
  • cracked green olives 125g
  • dried thyme or dried oregano 1-2 tbsp
  • flat-leaf parsley small bunch, finely chopped
  • buttered couscous to serve


  • onion 1 grated
  • garlic 3 cloves, crushed
  • root ginger 25g, peeled and grated
  • coriander a small bunch, finely chopped
  • saffron strands a small pinch
  • lemon 1, juiced
  • olive oil 3-4 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Mix all the ingredients for the marinade and rub it all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours.

  • Step 2

    Heat the olive oil and a small knob of butter in the base of a tagine or a heavy-based casserole in which the bird fits snugly. add the chicken and brown it on all sides. Tip in any left-over marinade and add enough water to come halfway up the chicken. bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer for about 50 minutes, turning the chicken from time to time.

  • Step 3

    Add the preserved lemons, olives and half of the thyme. Simmer for a further 20 minutes with the lid off. Check the seasoning and add some salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the rest of the thyme and the parsley over the top. Serve from the tagine with bread or couscous if you like.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 659
  • Fat 48.9g
  • Saturates 12.6g
  • Carbs 4.9g
  • Fibre 1.6g
  • Protein 50.2g
  • Salt 2.78g