Chicken Tagine With Lemons and Olives

TIMEJanuary 13, 2022

I am calling this a tagine because the original recipe is made in an earthenware tagine, but after making this dish so many times, I’ve found a large sauté pan with a lid works just as well. The point is to brown the chicken skin side first, and then cover it with broth, lemons, and olives and let it finish cooking by simmering slowly, so the chicken can absorb all the flavors. The juicy, succulent meat will literally fall off the bone.

On weeknights, I make this tagine with skin-on chicken thighs, a favorite at home, but when I make it for a large group, I add a few drumsticks and even breasts split in half so everyone can choose their favorite cut of chicken. It’s also an excellent make-ahead dish, as it can be cooked in the morning and reheated at dinner time just before serving.

Serves 2 to 4

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or bone broth
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pitted green olives

In a sauté pan (one that has a lid), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken thighs skin side down and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, without moving (or else the skin will tear), until the skin is nicely browned. Then, flip them over.

To the pan, add the onions, garlic, ginger, broth, lemon slices, and olives. The broth should almost but not completely cover the thighs, leaving the crisped skin exposed. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat. Cover the pan and simmer until there is no liquid left and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Victoria de la Maza is an award-winning cookbook author, columnist, and international TV host. Passionate about great food, she combines American traditions with her European heritage to create classic-with-a-twist recipes and ideas for stylish entertaining at home. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, "Diary of a Serial Hostess,” at