Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Although it takes a while to cook, you simply put everything together and then abandon it while it cooks. Though tagine is normally made in clay pots, this recipe works just as well in a normal saucepan as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.


  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 50g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, roughly diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 chicken legs, divided at the joints
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 preserved lemons
  • 200g green olives
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped


  1. Crush the strands of saffron in a pestle and mortar and pour over boiling water. Set aside.
  2. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Add the onions when the butter has melted and cook for a few mins.
  3. Add the garlic and the ground spices.
  4. Add the chicken pieces and fry for 5 mins on each side to seal.
  5. Pour over the saffron water and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour over enough water to barely cover the chicken.
  7. Place a lid on the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for two hours.
  8. Add the preserved lemon peel and the olives and cook for another 15 mins.
  9. Serve with couscous, potatoes or bread sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Preserved lemons

To preserve your own lemons, take 6 unwaxed lemons (the Maltese variety work well) and cut a cross at the top and bottom of the lemons. Pack with sea salt and place in a tight-fitting jar. Cover the lemons with lemon juice and top with a good layer of olive oil to seal. Seal the jar tightly and leave in a dark place for one month (they will last about a year).

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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