I use a heavy enamelled cast iron oven dish with a lid to cook this in the oven, or simmer very gently on the cook top. This also works well with diced lamb, but it takes longer to cook, approx 1.5 hours. This is always much better cooked the day before.

  • 1kg chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon harissa (or substitute with 1 red chilli)
  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced preserved lemon rind
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped including stems
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 180 C. In a large heavy-based pot or cast iron enamelled casserole dish heat some olive oil and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over low hear for approx 15mins or until soft but not brown.

Add the spices and salt to the vegetables, increase the heat & stir for 2 minutes. The spices should be very aromatic – if they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a small amount of water to prevent burning.

Add the chicken, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and chicken stock, and add enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Or cook this in the oven, using a heavy-based casserole dish with a lid, placing a sheet of baking paper on top of the chicken, and cooking at 170 C for 1.5hours.

Skim any fat from the surface, add honey, harissa, olives and preserved lemons and half the chopped coriander. Cook for a further 10mins to develop the flavours. Season with salt and pepper, Cool and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, reheat slowly and scatter remaining coriander generously over the top. Serve with steamed couscous.

Download Recipe here >> Long Track Chicken, Olive & Preserved Lemon Tagine