Take a trip to North Africa with a delicious slow cooker Moroccan chicken tagine. The tagine comes together in minutes, and freezes brilliantly, so make extra and stash the leftovers in the freezer for another meal.
Total Time Investment: 8 hours 10 minutes
I used to make this Moroccan chicken tagine in the oven. That was before I worked out how to get the most out of my slow cooker. As this tagine comes together quite quickly, it has now become the ideal dinner for me to throw in the slow cooker at the start of a busy day.
Two key ingredients help deliver a power punch of flavour in this dish: a good Ras el Hanout spice mix and preserved lemons. I prefer to buy my spices whole and grind them as required, so I don’t keep a lot of spice mixes on hand. There are a couple of notable exceptions to this rule though; dukkah, a jar of my homemade spice mix, and a good Ras el Hanout are always in my spice cupboard.Transport yourself to North Africa with this super easy #slowcooker #Moroccan #Chicken #Tagine. Perfect for busy mornings, it freezes brilliantly, so double the recipe & stock the #freezer. #glutenfree #dairyfree #dinner Click To Tweet
What is Ras El Hanout?
Originating in Northern Africa, Ras el Hanout (Arabic for “head of the shop”) was typically a blend of the best spices a shopkeeper had to hand in his shop. It plays a similar role in North African cooking as garam marsala does in Indian cooking, and is sometimes sold as “Moroccan Spice”. Be wary of these generic blends though, and always read the label, as some brands are padded out with salt and sugar. There should be nothing but spices in the ingredients. I typically buy my blend from a reputable supplier, but you can always make your own if you are so inclined.
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Ingredient Substitutions for Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Feel free to tweak my Moroccan chicken tagine according to the ingredients you have on hand, or your family’s personal preferences. Try these substitutions:
- I use chicken thighs with the bone in for this dish (My butcher calls these chicken cutlets), as I like the flavour this adds to the dish. You could also use skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. I would not recommend chicken breast for this dish as there is a risk it will dry out in the cooking process.
- Ras el hanout is a crucial ingredient in this Moroccan chicken tagine. However if you are unable to source this spice, you can try these substitutes.
- A good vegetable stock (broth) can be used in place of the chicken stock.
- I use tinned chickpeas for ease, but I have also used my own canned chickpeas or freshly cooked chickpeas in this recipe with great success.
- Preserved lemons are usually quite easy to find in supermarkets and specialist delis. However, if you cannot source preserved lemons, add the grated rind and juice of one fresh lemon instead. If adding fresh lemon juice, reduce the amount of stock used in the dish by the volume of juice you add.
- Olives are a polarising ingredients. Some people like them, others hate them. If you have a family of olive haters, simply omit the olives from the dish and add a teaspoon of sea salt instead.
Tips & Tricks for a Delicious Moroccan Chicken Tagine
I brown my onions and garlic before I add them to the slow cooker. This is a personal preference, and not a necessary step. I give more information on this here, but skip this step if you prefer.
If you are short on time, prepare the Moroccan chicken tagine in the slow cooker insert the night before, and leave it to sit overnight in the fridge. Then all you need to do in the morning is pop the insert into the slow cooker and turn it on.
The tagine freezes brilliantly, so if you like the idea of having an extra meal on hand just double the recipe. Allow the tagine to cool before freezing, and don’t forget to date and label your containers. The tagine will last in the freezer for up to three months.
Serve your Moroccan chicken tagine with a side of wholegrain cous cous for a simple dinner that tastes like it came straight out of the oven.
One year ago: The Nana Project: Spicy Cheese Shortbread Biscuits
Two years ago: A Simple Bolognaise Sauce
Three years ago: Savoury Feta & Olive Muffins
Four years ago: Zucchini & Pancetta Pasta
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below.
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Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Tagine
- 8 skinless chicken thighs bone in
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 Tablespoon Ras el Hanout
- 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 400 g (15 oz) tin chickpeas drained
- 1 small preserved lemon rind only, finely chopped
- Pinch saffron strands
- 40 - 70 g (1/4 - 1/2 cup) Kalamata olives (black olives)
- 50 g (3 cups) fresh coriander/cilantro A small bunch
- Salt & pepper
- Place the chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker insert.
- Heat a fry pan over a medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and onion, and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden brown.
- Stir in the garlic and ras el hanout.
- Fry for 1 minute, or until you can smell the garlic and spice mix.
- Pour the onion mixture over the chicken thighs.
- Add the chicken stock to the fry pan, and gently heat for 1 minute to deglaze the pan.
- Pour the chicken stock into the slow cooker.
- Add the chickpeas, preserved lemon, saffron and olives.
Finely chop the bunch of coriander (cilantro), including the roots and stems. Reserve the leaves, and add the chopped roots and stems to the slow cooker.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Gently stir to coat the chicken and evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8.
- Stir through the reserved chopped coriander leaves, and serve with wholegrain cous cous.
Olives can be a dividing ingredient. Our family loves them, so I always add the larger amount. If only a few of the family members are fans, add the lower amount. If nobody in the family likes olives, omit them completely, and add a little extra salt to the dish if desired.
I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe. I find this cut holds up better in the slow cooker, and the bone adds additional nourishment and taste to the dish.
Update notes: This post was originally published on 27th July 2015. It has been substantially updated to include ingredient substitutions, ingredient links and nutritional information. The post was republished on 3rd May 2018.