Soul-warming Chicken Tagine
A weeknight-friendly warming chicken tagine made with Moroccan flavors! A dash of cinnamon, ground turmeric, cumin, ginger, and coriander adds warmth. A tablespoon of honey, chopped carrots, and prunes add natural sweetness for balance. Serve over fluffy couscous for a stick-to-your-ribs hearty meal!
This recipe is sponsored by California Prunes; we’re using their delicious fiber-rich prunes in today’s chicken tagine recipe.
A ladleful of this soul-warming chicken tagine over a bed of steaming couscous is exactly what you need to warm you through and through.
We start by sauteing onions in a tagine (or a dutch oven) until they’re soft with a hint of golden color. You want to take your time here because this will help build layers that please the palate. That’s why I love a good chicken stew or tagine – because, by the time you’re done, you’re left with a dish that’s hearty with layers and layers of incredible flavors. And it’s so simple to do with easy-to-find ingredients.
What is a tagine?
A tagine is the name of a dish that is named after the vessel that it is cooked in. A tagine is usually made from clay and has a signature dome-shaped lid. It is most commonly used in North African cooking. Most recipes for tagine are made in one pot from start to finish.
Ingredients for chicken tagine:
- Chicken: You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or tenders for this recipe. I like to cut them evenly into small pieces so that all the chicken cooks in the same amount of time. I do suggest avoiding chicken breasts for this recipe as it’s quite lean and so the chicken isn’t too dry by the end. Chicken tenders work beautifully if you aren’t a fan of dark meat.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to help brown the onions and then cook the chicken in.
- Aromatics: Onions, garlic, and ginger are what I like to call an aromatic trinity. These ingredients are commonly used to build aroma and flavors in parts of Asia and Africa.
- Spices: We’re using ground cumin, cinnamon, hot paprika, ground coriander, and turmeric to add flavor to our tagine. All the spices bloom when they hit the hot oil.
- Tomatoes: I use passata in my tagine. Passata is a very smooth tomato puree.
- Chicken Broth or Stock: Homemade or store-bought chicken stock will work for this recipe.
- Honey: Adds some sweetness and depth in the tagine.
- Chickpeas: Add another layer of texture. Chickpeas are often used when making a tagine.
- Carrots: I like to add a couple of sliced carrots to help elevate the natural sweetness of the dish. Don’t worry, even with all these sweet flavors, the tagine isn’t ‘sweet.’ It’s very well balanced from the salty chicken stock and savory spices.
- California Prunes: Prunes add natural sweetness to the tagine. The recommended daily serving is 4-5 prunes. This is less than 100 calories and supports digestive and bone health.
- Dried Apricots: Adds another layer of texture and flavor.
- Serving: I like to serve a chicken tagine garnished with roasted unsalted almonds and some fresh chopped cilantro. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, feel free to swap it with fresh parsley. You’ll also want some prepared couscous to serve along with this flavorful recipe.
How to make a Moroccan chicken tagine:
- Start by sauteing. Heat the oil in a tagine (or a dutch oven) over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Then add the onions and saute them until soft and lightly golden. Add the chicken and carrots to the pan and continue to cook them until the chicken gains a little color on the outside.
- Season. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, black pepper, minced garlic, minced ginger, ground cinnamon, paprika, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and give the spices a few seconds to bloom in the hot oil. This will allow the flavors to reach their full potential.
- Simmer. Add the tomato passata and the chicken stock along with the honey, drained chickpeas, and allow the tagine to gain a simmer. Once it simmers, lower the heat to medium-low heat so that it gently simmers and cooks until the chicken is done and the sauce reduces a bit.
- Finish the tagine. Add the California Prunes and dried apricots to the tagine. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust with more salt or honey as desired. Remove the tagine from heat. Top with chopped almonds and cilantro and serve over fluffy couscous.
FAQs about chicken tagine:
- Can I make this recipe in advance? Yes! The beauty of a recipe that uses a lot of spices is that it actually tastes better as it sits so feel free to make this the day before you plan on serving it! You might need a splash of stock when reheating.
- How can I make this recipe entirely vegetarian? I suggest swapping the chicken for sweet potatoes and the chicken stock for vegetable stock. You may need to add a bit of water to the tagine when simmering so that the sweet potatoes have plenty of liquid to cook in. They may also take a few minutes longer than the chicken to cook all the way through.
- Can I leave out the dried apricots if I don’t like them? Yes, feel free to omit them from the recipe if you don’t like them. However, I do suggest trying the recipe with them first, it might change how you feel about them!
- How long do leftovers last? Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Thank you to our friends over at California Prunes for sponsoring this post. We love working with companies that make good wholesome ingredients!
- 1½ pounds chicken thighs or tenders, cut into ¾ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup red onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, cut into ½ inch thick slices
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoon minced ginger (or paste)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, cinnamon, hot paprika, AND ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup tomato passata
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup pitted California Prunes, cut in half
- ¼ cup dried apricots, cut in half or quarters
- ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted almonds AND chopped cilantro
- Prepared couscous, for serving
- SAUTE: Heat the oil in a tagine or a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and saute them for 5-7 minutes or until soft and lightly golden. Add the chicken and carrots to the pan and continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until the chicken gains color on the outside.
- SEASON: Add ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, hot paprika, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and give the spice 30-45 seconds to bloom.
- SIMMER: Pour the tomato puree and chicken stock into the pot. Add the honey and drained chickpeas, and allow the tagine to gain a simmer, cook on medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes or until reduced, and the chicken cooks all the way through.
- FINISH: Add the prunes and dried apricots to the tagine. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust with salt or additional honey as desired. Remove from heat. Top with chopped almonds and cilantro and serve with prepared couscous.