Chicken Preserved Lemon and Prune Tagine

2 1/2 hours




  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on or off
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 preserved lemon - flesh & pith removed - chopped
  • 1.5 cups (approx.) stock, vegetable or chicken
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped, to garnish
  • Preserved Lemons
  • 6 lemons - washed
  • ½ cup coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup lemon juice


Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole dish or saucepan (that has a lid preferably). Add the onions and spices and cook until fragrant, then add the chicken, toss to coat in the spices and cook until beginning to brown on one side.  Add the preserved lemon, stock and honey.

Give everything a good stir then put the lid on (or cover tightly with foil) and simmer on a low heat for about 1 ½ hours or until the meat falls away from the bones. I check it after one hour and add more water if it looks like it needs it, and the prunes at this stage.

Replace the lid and continue to cook. (Alternatively this dish can be cooked in the oven (170° C) for 1.5 hours).

Before serving, baste the chicken well with the juices and taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper to season. Garnish with a handful of chopped coriander and serve with bread to mop up the juices.

To make preserved lemons: Wash jar and dry in an oven heated to 120° C to sterilise. Scrub the lemons to remove any wax on the skin and rinse in cold water. Cuts into quarters. Pack the lemons into the jar, layering with salt. Scatter with peppercorns, add the bay leaf and top up jar with lemon juice. Pour in enough boiling water to almost fill the jar.

Seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks, turning upside-down occasionally to mix the salt and juices. Ready to use after 3 weeks, will store for up to 4 months or longer. Discard flesh and pith and the softened skin.