Chicken, Preserved Lemon, Fennel and Olive Tagine

I needed something really easy for dinner a couple of nights ago – the sort of thing you could throw together and leave to do its own thing – and this is the end result. Enough for four, with leftovers.


2 tbsp fennel seeds

1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds

A piece of fresh ginger about 3 times the size of your thumb

A pinch cayenne pepper

1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1 tbsp ras el hanout

1 tbsp rose harissa

Olive oil

12 boned, skinless chicken thighs

4 skinless chicken breast fillets

290g jar kalamata olives

225g jar green olives

3 onions

3 fennel bulbs

4 preserved lemons

400g tin chickpeas

A pinch saffron threads

500ml chicken stock

Salt & pepper

Chopped dill, parsley and mint leaves, to taste


Toast the fennel and coriander seeds until slightly darker and fragrant. Bash them up a bit in a pestle and mortar. Whizz the ginger, cayenne, paprika, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, ras el hanout and harissa in a food processor with about 4 tbsp oil to form a paste. Rub into the chicken and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you prefer. Drain the olives and soak for up to an hour, changing the water a couple of times.

Finely slice the onions and fennel bulbs. Heat a slug of oil in a large casserole dish and brown the chicken with the onions and fennel. Finely chop the preserved lemons and add to the chicken with the olives, saffron and stock. Season, bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for an hour or so. Add more water or stick a lid on if it is looking a bit dry. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve with tabbouleh xx


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