Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

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Chicken and Onion Tagine

Active time:10 minutes

Start To Finish:3 hours, 20 minutes


Serving size: 4


Quick Preparation
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1 whole chicken, cut into quarters, or chicken breasts and thighs with skin and bones
2 large onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
¼ tsp. Ras El Hanout
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup water


This recipe is best prepared in a tagine, a North African cooking vessel most often made from clay or ceramic.  If you don't have a tagine, you can use a Dutch oven, but the flavor will suffer.

Place half the onion and the garlic on the bottom of the tagine.  Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the onions.  Using your fingers, sprinkle all of the spices over the chicken.  Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken, add the water, and place the remaining onions over the chicken.

Cover the tagine and place it on a diffuser over medium-low heat.  Let the tagine heat slowly to a simmer then reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will maintain the simmer.  Cook the chicken until very tender, about 2-3 hours.  Towards the end of the cooking time, keep checking to make sure that the onions are not sticking or burning; if they are, add more water.  When the chicken is done, serve directly from the tagine.


This is a gateway recipe to Moroccan cuisine.  The spices are traditionally Moroccan, but most tagines will add olives and preserved lemons (and cilantro, which is not going to happen—in Marcella's kitchen anyway.)

Ras El Hanout is a complex, aromatic Moroccan spice blend.  You can find it in many supermarkets and gourmet food stores in the spice aisle.

Specialty Equipment:


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