Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas

© 2012

And now for something completely different, kinda sorta.

I like North African foods, especially Moroccan food. There is a whole lot of flavor with wonderful textures and spice combinations. This dish is a Morrocan tagine. Tagines are essentially a stew, slowly braised, that results in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and flavorful sauce. They are traditionally cooked in a tagine, hence, their name.

A tagine is formed entirely of a heavy clay which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The conical cover has a knob-like handle at its top in order to remove it. This shaped top serves two purposes. First, the conical shaped top designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. Second, while simmering you allegedly can take the cover off with your bare hands using the knob so you can check on things, add braising liquid and other stuff but I would rather not try. I’ve been burned once too often and I like my little fingers. 🙂

Baby Lady bought me one for my birthday several years ago. It’s pretty.

© 2012

She is still rather puzzled because I have yet to use it. Oh well, the problem is I have so many other cooking toys that will do precisely the same thing and we have yet to entertain when we fixed a tagine. Hmmm, someday soon I probably need to use it but if I do it won’t look nearly as pretty. What a dilemma. While I ponder my dilemma, you should really give this dish a try.


  • 1 Chicken, about 3 lbs, cut into 8 or 10 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 -2 tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • 1 inch fresh gingerroot, finely diced
  • 6 ounces dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can (28 ounce/2 cans 14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (14 oz cans) chickpeas (I’ve never seen a 28 oz can of chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 pint chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 4 teaspoons ras el hanout
  • 1 teaspoon ground corriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh Cilantro


Heat up olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet (preferably cast iron). Add chicken pieces in batches browning both sides, roughly 5 minutes per side. When chicken has reached a golden brown color, remove and set aside.

When the chicken is done, add chopped onions & garlic to the skillet for 5-10 minutes.

Next, add chicken stock & gradually mix in flour or cornflour until well mixed & not lumpy.

Add honey & tomato paste & mix well.

Add herbs,spices & finely chopped ginger with salt & pepper to taste. Now, add the diced tomatoes & mix well.

Add the chicken pieces & chickpeas & mix well to incorporate. Add the dried apricots and carrots making sure they are covered by juice and everything is well incorporated.

Cook slowly over medium low heat for about 2-3 hours until the liquid reaches its desired thickness. If you need to thicken it up towards the end of the cooking time, add cornflour which has been mixed with a little water to the tagine and mix well.

Serve with freshly chopped Cilantro sprinked on top & either with couscous, rice, fresh flat bread, pitta bread or salads. Enjoy.

16 thoughts on “Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas”

    1. Ras el Hanout is a complex, aromatic Mediterranean/North African spice blend that means “head of the shop” or top notch that typically includes cardamom, nutmeg, anise, mace, cinnamon, ginger, various peppers, and turmeric. As many as 30 or more ingredients can be used. It’s a pretty neat spice blend. I make my own and keep it in pint jars in my pantry spice cabinet. Here is a pretty simple recipe:

      2 teaspoons ground ginger
      2 teaspoons ground cardamon
      2 teaspoons ground mace
      1 teaspoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ground allspice
      1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      1 teaspoon turmeric
      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
      1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
      1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
      1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

      As you can see, it’s packed with flavor on multiple layers. It’s very pungent so you don’t use a lot, i.e. 4 tsp on a 3 lb chicken.

  1. Wow, I can imagine the smells coming out of the kitchen for this one! I would love to try this out, and thank you for providing the “Ras el Hanout” seasoning recipe. I have a lot of Indian spices and other seasonings (except the white pepper, mine is a mix) so will be able to blend this and add it to my spice collection.

    1. We really like Moroccan food. The recipe I use for Ras el Hanout is similar to the above but I grind my own peppercorns, clove, cardamon seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and grate my own nutmeg. My recipe is:

      1-1/2 tsp black peppercorn
      1 tsp cumin seeds
      1 tsp coriander seeds
      1/4 tsp cardamon seeds
      4 whole cloves
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1 tsp ground ginger
      1/4 tsp ground allspice
      1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
      1/4 tsp hot paprika
      1/4 tsp ground turmeric
      1/4 tsp sea salt

      Either pound the peppercorn, cumin seeds, cardamon seeds, coriander seeds, and cloves in a mortar and peste until ground fine (the hard way) or put them in a spice mill and grind them to a powder (much easier). Add the remaining ingredients and incorporate. Store in a glass jar and use as needed. It will last in your pantry for up to 6 months.

      1. Thanks for your version. I use a hand held coffee grinder for my spices, so making this will be a snap! It’ll be my first time making Moroccan food, I’m already anxious to get my spices out!

      2. Hi, Richard! I made a modified version of this over the weekend (less time, used black beans instead of chickpeas) and I LOVED your seasoning!!! I cooked it for under an hour and the flavors were already so wonderfully blended throughout. The additional cayenne made it too hot for me so next time I’ll just leave it out since the seasoning already has some heat. I actually made both spice blends so next time I’ll try it with the other Ras el Hanout seasoning with more cardamom. Thanks again, this was great!

      3. I’m glad you tried it and liked it. In my recipe I use La Chinata Hot Smoked Paprika, as opposed to the cayenne. It adds a smokiness to the dish you don’t get otherwise and the spicy paprika isn’t as hot as the cayenne but does add some extra kick. Now that you have the seasoning mix, I’m sure you will find all sorts of uses for it. I have always wanted to try it on duck and imagine it would be wonderful.

      4. Hi. Why do you add the 4 spices (coriander, cinnamon etc) in addition to the ras el hanout to the chicken tagine recipe? The ras el hanout already has those ingredients.

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