Really this should be named Chicken Tajine, but since the Tajine is the actual cooking apparatus you use to cook this in, and since I didn’t have one, I’m going to just go with Moroccan Chicken.
I was watching Food Network the other day and there was an episode on Barefoot Contessa entitled “Cooking for Beginners.” And their feature recipe was from the personal chef for Steven Spielberg who was making Chicken Tajine. She too did not use a Tajine, but instead a dutch oven to cook it in. Perfect! I got me one of those!
I immediately decided to make the chicken and planned on having it Tuesday night for dinner. It was earlier in the day that I actually looked at the directions and realized the chicken should marinate for a good 24 hours. I knew my wait would be longer. So I marinated the chicken and allowed it to do its thing with all those spices for a good 24 hours.
While the process seems long, in truth, the dish could not have been easier to make. This is a perfect dish for the chilly fall weather, and is something easy enough that you can have it all cooking in one pot on the stove if you are pressed for time the night you plan to serve it.
There are a few changes I made to the recipe, and I will list the recipe and the way I prepared this dish below, with a * next to the parts of the recipe I adapted for my kitchen. Visit the original recipe shown on Barefoot Contessa, Moroccan Chicken Tajine from Ina Garten and try it either way.
As a note, this recipe calls for preserved lemons. They do tell you how to make these yourself during the show, the problem is, again, it’s something that needs to be done ahead of time, by actual weeks. They do say you can buy them preserved as well, but I couldn’t find them locally. My adaption of the recipe shows you how I made up for this, and it definitely lended a strong lemon flavor which is something I love in a dish.
Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Episode “Cooking for Beginners”
- *3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
- 1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
- 1 tbsp. Kosher/Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Large Spanish Onion, grated (about 1 cup)
- 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil (NOT Olive Oil)
- * 1 Large Lemon, juiced and then cut into 6 pieces
- * 4 Split Chicken Breasts on the bone, each cut in half yielding 8 pieces
- Stems from 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Parsley, tied with twine
- Stems from 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro, tied with twine
- 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Parsley Leaves, chopped
- 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro Leaves, chopped
- *1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- *1 Envelope of Goya Sazon (Con Azafran) in the orange/purple/yellow box.
- 1 Cup Pitted Greek or Moroccan Olives
The day before you plan to make this dish, mix together the cumin, ginger, paprika, pepper, salt, 1/2 of the grated onion, canola oil and the juice of one lemon in a bowl and set to the side. After the lemon is juiced and pitted, slice the lemon skin into 6 pieces and add to the marinade.
Meanwhile, using a meat clever, cut the split chicken breasts in half. Place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade of the chicken. Seal the bag, and using your hands, work the bag so that the marinade covers each chicken piece. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, place the chicken and the marinade, with the lemon slices, in the bottom of a large dutch oven. Add the tied stems of the cilantro and parsley to the dutch oven. Add the chicken broth and the Goya Sazon packet to the pot. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 40 to 45 minutes.
Once done, uncover the pot and remove the chicken to a dish. Cover with foil. Bring the sauce to a simmer and allow to reduce by almost half.
While the sauce is reducing, chop the leaves from the parsley and cilantro and set to the side.
Once reduced, remove the tied cilantro and parsley stems from the pot and discard. Uncover the chicken and remove the skin and discard. Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the chopped cilantro, parsley, and the olives. Allow the sauce and the chicken to simmer for an additional five minutes, then remove to a serving dish and pour the sauce over the top.
Serve over rice or with some torn pita bread for dipping.