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Chicken and Preserved Lemon Tajine

This dish takes a little while to prepare, but it’s all worth the effort when you see the faces of your dinner guests. Like curries, it is even better on the second day.

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Method

Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using (or you can make this up to 7 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator). Wash and dry the chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off the wing tips and any excess fat. Chop into pieces. Place in a bowl and rub with half of the marinade.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight. Combine the chopped tomato and onion with a little more marinade and spread over the base of a tajine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the base). Arrange the chicken pieces in the centre of the tajine. Coat the potato wedges in a little more marinade and arrange around the chicken. Top with the sliced onion, then the sliced tomato, and push the olives into the gaps. Combine the remaining marinade with the coriander and water and pour over the top. Decorate with preserved lemon wedges.

Cover the tajine with the lid and cook over a very low heat on the stove for 45 minutes. Don’t stir or lift the lid during cooking. Take the tajine to the table and serve with couscous and harissa.

Ingredients

1 small chicken (1–1.2 kg)

2 tomatoes, 1 chopped, 1 sliced

2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 sliced

2 large potatoes, cut into wedges

150g pitted green olives

1 bunch coriander, chopped

250 ml (1 cup) water

1 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges.

Chermula:

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced

2 onions, chopped

½ small red chilli

1 tbsp sweet paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp chopped coriander

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 bay leaves, torn in half

½ tsp  saffron threads, soaked in a little water

125 ml (½ cup) olive oil

salt