Moroccan chicken is a slow-cooked masterpiece of a meal that's bursting with flavor, taste, and tenderness. This dish takes quite a while to prepare and to stew, but it's well worth the effort and energy that goes into cooking it.
Tagine cooking requires a tagine pot for the most tender of Moroccan chicken, and while tagine cooking does take a long time, once the preparation is over, you can sit back and let the delicious medley of chicken, spices, and vegetables simmer and stew to perfection.
Here's our mouthwatering, slow-cooked Moroccan chicken recipe!
Slow-Cooked Moroccan Chicken Tagine
- 3lbs chicken whole roaster, cut up into pieces
- 1lb of potatoes, peeled and then sliced
- 1/2 cup of chopped onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Romano tomatoes, cored and then diced
- 1/4 of a cup of frozen peas
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 1 tsp of curry powder
- 1 tsp of chili powder
- Fresh parsley
- 1 cup of water
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to prepare the chicken
- Take your whole roasting chicken and place it on its back.
- Take a boning knife and insert it into the joint where the wing attaches to the body. Cut into the joint as you pull the wing apart to separate it from the body. Repeat with the second wing.
- Cutaway the skin around the leg joint, and gently pull away the leg from the body, to locate the leg joint itself. Once located, cut into the leg joint to separate. Repeat for the second leg.
- Turn the main body of the chicken over, so the breast faces down. With a pair of kitchen shears, cut along the backbone from the top of the neck right down to the tail.
- Keeping the breast facing down, crack open the cavity and push down into the breast bone. This will cut the breast meat into two pieces.
- With the chicken cut, you can then trim the fat and remove the skin as per your personal tastes.*
Directions for the Moroccan chicken tagine
- Start your chicken tagine recipes by peeling, then slicing your potatoes. To stop them from browning, you can place the peeled potatoes in cold water while you prepare the rest of the Moroccan chicken stew.
- Slice your onions, carrots, and tomatoes. Mince your garlic.
- Start layering your tagine pot by placing the sliced carrots, onions, tomatoes, and minced garlic on the bottom of the dish.
- Place your chicken pieces on top of the vegetables.
- Season the dish with your spices, and then sprinkle over the fresh parsley.
- Pour in a few tsp of olive oil and 1 cup of water.
- Place the tagine pot on the stovetop and allow it to simmer for 1 hour on medium heat.*
- Remove the lid, and place your potatoes in the tagine pot as the top layer of the Moroccan chicken stew.
- Return the lid to the tagine pot and allow the Moroccan tagine chicken to simmer for another 20 min (or until the potatoes are soft).
- Remove the lid and add your frozen peas as the final layer, before allowing the dish to cook for a final 5 min with no covering.
- Prepare couscous, rice, or salad as a side dish, and serve your deliciously tender Moroccan chicken in a tagine to your hungry family and friends!
*If you're trying to be healthier, then trim off both the fat and the chicken skin. If you're not worried about this, though, then the skin adds a deliciously tasty element to the tagine when it's slowly stewed on the chicken meat!
*You can baste the chicken while the dish is simmering to make sure you keep it super moist and tender. If the tagine is looking too dry, then add more water or some vegetable stock.
Moroccan Chicken Recipe FAQ
That's it for our Moroccan chicken recipe! It might seem like a daunting recipe, but once you've got all the ingredients in the tagine pot, all you need to do is let everything slow cook.
Just in case you have any further questions, though, here's a quick FAQ that our chefs put together to explain a few more things in detail!
What is a tagine?
A tagine is many things!
A tagine is a style of cooking, it's a type of cooking pot, and it's also the name of the finished dish that you'll be cooking up. The names are derived from the cooking pot itself, though, a rounded bowl with a conical lid that allows the juices and moisture to circulate while venting steam out of the top.
The design of the tagine pot is thought to go back thousands of years, and it's a firm fixture in North African, and particularly Moroccan, cooking. The tagine pot helps to slowly-cook and tenderize the meat while keeping in all of those delicious Moroccan spices!
Do I really need a tagine pot?
We highly recommend cooking your Moroccan chicken in a tagine pot, purely because it allows the juices to continually circulate, and for the ingredients to essentially stew in their own goodness (and it's authentic too, of course!).
If you don't have a tagine pot, then you can still cook up the Moroccan chicken recipe, it just might not be quite as juicy. Instead of a tagine pot, you can use any suitable saucepan or even a skillet, provided you can cover it and allow some of the steam to escape periodically.
You could even use a casserole dish or a slow cooker.
Can I cook Moroccan chicken in the oven?
We cook our Moroccan chicken on the stovetop, but you can also cook your tagine in the oven as well. Tagine pots can be used on both stovetops and in the ovens, so they are perfect for this.
You'll want to preheat your oven to 350°F, prepare and layer your tagine pot as per the recipe above, and then leave it to slow cook for at least one hour, or longer. Add in the potatoes and peas near the end of the cooking period.
How do I know when the chicken is cooked through?
The most important aspect of slow-cooking your Moroccan chicken or Moroccan chicken thighs tagine is knowing when the chicken is properly cooked through (it's never a good idea to eat undercooked chicken, after all!).
The easiest way to check is with a thermometer. The chicken should have an internal temperature of 165°F when the tagine is ready to eat. If you don't have a thermometer, then place a fork into the middle of the chicken. It should be hot when you remove it. You can slice open a piece of chicken too, to double-check there are no pink bits in the middle.
Remember, though, if you're not sure if the chicken is properly cooked, then just leave the Moroccan chicken tagine to stew and simmer for longer. You're better safe than sorry, and it's virtually impossible to overdo this dish!
Do I have to cook chicken?
While our Moroccan chicken recipe obviously calls for a whole roasting chicken, a tagine doesn't specifically have to have chicken in the recipe. You can cook with many other types of meat too, and many more different types of vegetables too. Tagines are wonderfully diverse, and you can be as creative as you like when you're preparing them!
Instead of chicken, you can slowly cook tender chunks of beef, or cuts of lamb, so the meat literally melts in your mouth. If you're not a meat-eater, then you can just prepare a vegan or veggie-friendly vegetable tagine, using your favorite Moroccan vegetables.
What can I serve with Moroccan chicken tagine?
There are some wonderful side dishes that can accompany a Moroccan chicken tagine, but our two favorites are always going to be couscous or rice.
If you're trying to be really authentic, then you should make sure you've stocked up on couscous in the pantry. This Moroccan staple will add that extra touch to the tagine. Couscous is really easy to prepare, and you can find it in almost any supermarket.
Simply add hot water to the couscous and allow it to stand and absorb the water while you simmer your tagine. You can add a little butter or sprinkle the couscous with fresh parsley, mint, or coriander. A few raisins mixed in will give the couscous a fruity kick too!
Rice is another good choice for Moroccan tagine, and again, you can let the rice boil and cook on the stovetop while you simmer your tagine. Try to put the rice on when you put the potatoes into the tagine pot.
On the side, we'd also recommend preparing a small salad to accompany the Morrocan chicken, and your couscous or rice. Leafy greens, and some fresh tomatoes and cucumber area great addition to the meal!
Should I marinate the chicken?
If you're planning your Moroccan chicken tagine in advance, then you can prepare and cut the chicken, and allow it to slowly marinate in the spices overnight, for a truly delicious dish!
Mix up your spices in a bowl the night before, carve your whole roasting chicken, then rub the spices into chicken pieces. Leave the chicken pieces in the fridge, and then cook with the chicken as per the recipe above, the next day.
If you forget to marinate the night before, then even leaving the chicken pieces in the spice for an hour or two before you start to cook will help to infuse them with more flavor!
Can I store Moroccan chicken in the fridge?
If you have any leftovers (we really doubt that you will, though!), then you can safely store the Morrocan chicken in the fridge for at least 48 hours. Any longer than this and it might start to take a turn for the worse.
You could store the leftovers in the tagine pot, in which case all you need to do is take the tagine pot out of the fridge and place it back on the stovetop when you're ready to reheat and eat. You could also store the tagine in a sealed container to keep in the freshness.
Can I freeze tagine?
Tagine doesn't freeze particularly well, as much of the freshness that you've labored to create will be lost in the freezer. You can freeze the leftovers, of course, but just make sure to freeze everything in a sealed container or a ziplock bag to keep in as much of the freshness as you can. Try to eat the Moroccan chicken within six months of freezing.
When you need to thaw the frozen Moroccan chicken, allow it to defrost naturally on the side, or overnight in the fridge. If you're in a rush, then blast it in the microwave, but be aware that you will lose some of the taste and flavor and probably make the dish quite watery.
How do I reheat Moroccan chicken tagine?
Once the Moroccan chicken has thawed, reheat it on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the tagine pot. Slowly reheating the tagine will help to keep in the flavor. You could sprinkle the reheated dish with fresh parsley, mint, or cilantro for some added freshness. Prepare some couscous, or a side salad, and enjoy your reheated Moroccan chicken.
Again, if you're in a hurry, then you can reheat the Moroccan chicken in the microwave too, just try to keep the power low, so you don't lose all of the taste!
Moroccan chicken takeaways
That's a wrap for our delicious Moroccan chicken tagine recipes! This slow-cooked North African specialty is bursting with flavor and packed with tender chicken and sumptuous vegetables.
It takes a while to prepare, but when you're chowing down, you'll be happy you put in the effort! Why not bookmark our Moroccan chicken tagine recipe for later?
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