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chicken tagine

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Olives and Thyme

Take a trip to Morocco. This recipe for a low-fat Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Olives, and Thyme is delicious, low-fat, and super easy to make. You can use a traditional tagine, heavy casserole or Dutch oven.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Additional Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Poultry, Soups, Stews & Chili
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 220 kcal


  • Prepare the Marinade
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic rough chop (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, rough chop (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • Pinch saffron
  • Juice of 1 lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the Tagine
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee or 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil with 1 teaspoon unsalted butter added
  • 2 preserved lemons skin only, remove the inside lemon flesh, cut into strips
  • 1 cup olives preferably cracked green olives with pits
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 - 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme for serving


  • Place all the marinade ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs. 
  • Place the thighs into a non-reactive dish, or plastic zip-top bag. Pour the marinade over and rub it well into the chicken. Cover, or seal, and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours. Do not go longer than 2 hours or the marinade will start to make the chicken pieces soft.
  • After you chicken has marinaded, remove the thighs from the marinade, reserving the marinade; scrape any pieces of the marinade from the chicken pieces and season them with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Heat your cooking vessel, be it tagine (only if it's rated for stove-top use), heavy casserole pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the ghee or oil and butter; when hot, add the chicken pieces and brown for about 5 minutes. Pour over the marinade and add water as needed to have the liquid about half-way up the sides of the meat. Add half of the thyme. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally. 
  • After the 45 minute cooking time; add the preserved lemon along with the olives. Place the remaining thyme sprigs over the top, or sprinkle over the dried thyme. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes further. Remove the leaves from the remaining thyme sprig and sprinkle over. (If using dried, skip this step). Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve into warmed wide bowls.


Do not marinate for more than 2 hours or the texture of the chicken will be compromised.


Serving: 1gSodium: 927mgFiber: 2gCholesterol: 82mgCalories: 220kcalPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gFat: 13gProtein: 19gCarbohydrates: 10g
Keyword chicken thighs, preserved lemon, tagine
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