Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

A hearty combination of moist braised dark-meat chicken and tender chickpeas seasoned with a warm, Moroccan-inspired spice blend.

Chicken and Chickpea Tagine

I don't know about you, but I can't get enough of Moroccan-inspired braises. They're generally fairly simple to put together, but their use of spices makes their flavor complex. This tagine uses eight spices to form a warm, savory spice blend that brings out the best in dark-meat chicken and tender chickpeas. Once you have the spice blend made, it's just a matter of putting together the braise and letting it gently simmer for under an hour. Serve with some fluffy couscous and a vegetable salad dressed with plenty of acidity, and you have a completely satisfying meal. This is also one of those dishes that will taste better after a night in the fridge, so leftovers are welcome!

Spices used in this recipe

Paprika, Spanish Sweet
Garlic Powder
Cinnamon, Ground
Coriander, Ground
Turmeric, Ground
Ginger, Ground
Cardamom, Green Ground
Allspice, Ground
Salt, Kosher
Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder


Spice Blend:


  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or leg quarters
  • Vanns Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Vanns Black Tellicherry Peppercorns, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. Spice Mix
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, juices drained and reserved
  • 2 14-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 preserved lemon (homemade, if you have them on hand!), seeds removed, rind and flesh finely chopped
  • Small handful cilantro leaves


  1. Stir together the spices in a small bowl until evenly combined. Put a dry saute pan over low heat -- when warm, add the spice mix and toast for about 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with 2 Tbs. of the toasted spice mix, as well as Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven or tagine pot and sear the chicken, in batches if necessary, until deeply browned, about 7 minutes per side, starting skin-side down. Remove the browned chicken to a tray or plate that will contain any juices.
  3. Remove all but 2 Tbs. of the fat in the pan and put over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until translucent and soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock and reserved tomato juices and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about one third, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, and preserved lemon to the pan and stir to combine. Nestle the browned chicken pieces into the sauce, pouring in any juices that have collected as they rested. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cover. Cook over medium-low heat until the thickest part of each chicken piece reads 165°F on an instant read thermometer, 25 - 40 minutes. Check the temperature after 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and taste for seasoning, adding more salt as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves and a side of couscous.

Serves 4-6.

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