This easy Moroccan chicken tagine recipe is particularly delicious when prepared in a clay or ceramic tagine with a free range chicken (called djaj bildi in Morocco). Although well-seasoned, the dish is not spicy and won't overshadow the prized flavor of a free range bird. The onions, some of which caramelize during cooking, add subtle sweetness.
Skip the measuring spoons and simply sprinkle the approximate quantity of spices over the chicken before cooking. Exact measuring isn't critical to this dish. Remove the skin if you like, but I prefer to leave it intact when cooking free range poultry in a tagine.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
- 1 whole chicken, cut into quarters
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
- pepper, about 1 teaspoon
- ginger, about 1 teaspoon
- cumin, about 1/2 teaspoon
- turmeric, about 1/2 teaspoon
- Ras el Hanout, about 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
Place half of the onion slices and the pressed garlic across the bottom of a tagine. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on top of the onions.
With your fingers, sprinkle the spices over the the chicken. Add the olive oil, allowing some of it to dribble over the chicken, and then add the water. Arrange the remaining onion rings on top of the chicken.
Cover the tagine and place it over medium-low heat. Allow the tagine to heat slowly to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to the lowest temperature necessary to maintain the simmer. Cook the chicken without turning until very tender, about two hours for a regular chicken or three hours for a free range chicken. Test by seeing if you can easily pinch the meat off the bone.
Towards the end of cooking, check to be sure there is enough liquid to prevent the onions from scorching. Add a bit more water if necessary, keeping in mind that there should be relatively little sauce in the finished tagine; the sauce comprises mostly onions and oils.
Serve the chicken directly from the tagine with Moroccan bread for scooping everything up.