Chicken Tagine with Pine Nut Couscous

Tagines can be purchased hereI love Moroccan food! Spices such as ginger, cumin, tumeric, paprika and garlic made into pastes, combined with dried fruits, preserved lemons, some sort of meat or vegetable and made into a stew to serve over couscous really get my taste buds going. These stews are often cooked and served in a Tagine, an earthenware pot with a conical lid. Cooking tagines tend to be terracotta and can be used on top of the stove or in the oven while serving tagines are more decorative with beautiful colors and patterns. The base of the tagine is the heavier part made to withstand heat and constant whereas the conical top seals the vessel which acts as a chimney to keep moisture and steam inside the tagine.My sister, of Crossing Stitches, bought me a beautiful tagine for my birthday just recently, so I began surfing the web and my cookbooks for a recipe, but I was intimidated by all of the ingredients, especially preserved lemons which are hard to find in my area. The March, 2007 Sunset magazine had an article on chicken thighs and in the article was a recipe for Chicken Tagine with Pine Nut Couscous which could be made in 1 1/2 hours total prep and cooking time and had ingredients that were easy to find in the supermarket. Instead of using preserved lemons, lemon zest made a great substitute. The recipe sounded perfect!Ingredients2 tablespoons olive oil6 bone-in chicken thighs (with skin)1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)4 large garlic cloves, minced1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground turmeric1 teaspoon ground coriander1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed2 small dried red chiles, such as arbol ( I substituted 1/2 crushed red chiles)1 teaspoon salt15 dried apricots, halved15 pitted prunes, halved4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs plus 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves1 1/2 cups couscous1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest1. Heat oil in a 6- to 8-qt. heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over and cook 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining chicken and set aside.2. Drain all but 2 tbsp. oil from pot and reduce heat to medium. Add onion and sauté until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, cardamom pods, chiles, and salt and stir to combine. Return chicken to pot and add apricots, prunes, 2 cups chicken broth, and parsley sprigs. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 40 minutes. Take pot off heat and remove parsley sprigs and chiles. Remove skin from chicken.3. In a covered medium saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups chicken broth to a boil. Turn off heat, stir in couscous, cover, and let sit 5 minutes. Uncover pan and fluff couscous with a fork. Stir in 2 tbsp. minced parsley, pine nuts, and lemon zest and toss to combine. Mound couscous on a platter. Top with chicken thighs and pour sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. parsley.Makes 4-6 servings


  1. JennDZ
    May 14, 2007 / 8:48 pm

    I adore Moroccan Cuisine! Great minds must think alike because I just wrote up things on that theme on both of my websites this week! Must be something in the air!

  2. Anh
    May 20, 2007 / 7:08 pm

    Lynnylu, I adore your blog and shre with you the love for Moroccan cuisine, This recipe is so lovely, I’ll have to try out. 🙂

  3. Kristen
    May 26, 2007 / 1:46 am

    What a delicious and unique looking recipe. Gorgeous photos, as always.

  4. Lynnylu
    June 6, 2007 / 12:35 pm

    Thanks,jenndz. Will check out your postings on Moroccan food.Thanks, anh. I am so pleased you like my blog. I plan on more Moroccan food in the near future.Thanks, kristen. I appreciate your comments.

  5. Helen
    June 18, 2007 / 6:16 pm

    Both my parents were born in Morocco and both my grandfathers were stationed there for a long time, so once back in France, Morocco still played an importnat part, and especially the cooking. To the point that 2 of the things that made the move with me here to the US are my couscoussier and my tagine. I love making them on the weekends, as the smell travels throughout the house. Great recipe!

  6. Domestic goddess in the making!
    June 18, 2007 / 7:08 pm

    I tried this recipe tonight and it was absolutely delicious.Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lynnylu
    June 28, 2007 / 11:40 am

    Thanks, Helen. I would love to go to Morocco. I have seen some beautiful photos.Thanks, domestic goddess. Glad you liked the recipe as I did.

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