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The weather here is pretty miserable. High winds and torrential rain. It was fine this morning so I put some washing on the line and then went out. By the time I got back 2 hours later it was blowing a gale and raining. My washing was strewn across the garden and needed to go back into the washing machine. I got soaked bringing in some logs from the wood store and sorting out the recycling was interesting as a gust of wind lifted most of it out of the trug on its journey to the shed. So I was running around my garden chasing bits of paper and plastic before they were carried away on the wind.

I know the weather is bad in many parts of the country today so I thought I’d post one of my favourite recipes at the moment. A warming stew is just what is needed on days like this. Moroccan tagines really are just like our own stews but use an interesting mix of spices. I came across this recipe on last years Great British Food Revival on the BBC. The chef Matt Tebbutt was championing mutton and used it in this recipe.

Chicken tagine - not the greatest photo but it is very tasty

We’ve found it really versatile, cooking it with the suggested mutton and also lamb and chicken. It is so easy to make and really tasty. The preserved lemons might sound a bit strange but they add an amazing flavour to the dish.

Chicken Tagine Recipe– Serves 2 people


4 chicken thighs skin removed

1 can of tinned tomatoes

1 medium onion

300 ml chicken stock

1 preserved lemon

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

4 fat garlic cloves

To make

  1. Chop the onion and gently fry in the bottom of a casserole dish until they are soft and translucent. We use a Le Creuset which can go directly on the hob but if you haven’t got a casserole dish that can go on the hob just do this bit in a frying pan and then add to the other ingredients in your casserole dish. You don’t need a special tagine pot, a casserole dish does the same job.
  2. Crush the coriander and cumin seeds and then add to the onion, along with the tinned tomatoes, the cinnamon stick and star anise.
  3. Remove the papery skins from the garlic and place whole in with the onion and tomato.
  4. Wash the preserved lemon. Slice into quarters and remove the flesh. Then chop the rind up finely and add this to the casserole dish.
  5. Finally add the chicken stock and chicken thighs. Give everything a stir and then put on the lid and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C. It should be ready in 1 and 1/2 hours.

You can see the mutton recipe at BBC Food. In our recipe we omit the saffron (too expensive) and the chillies (we don’t like them) so feel free to tailor the recipe to your own taste.

You’ll need to fish out the star anise and cinnamon stick before serving. If using lamb (we use shanks) you can scoop the sauce into a jug and then skim off the fat. You shouldn’t need to do this with the chicken.

We love to serve this with couscous and roasted Mediterranean vegetables.