Moroccan Chicken and Apricot Tagine

chicken and apricot tagine hero

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
688 Calories
39g Fat
38g Carbs
48g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 688
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 13g 64%
Cholesterol 175mg 58%
Sodium 766mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 81mg 6%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 880mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Dried or fresh fruits are often key additions to sweet and savory Moroccan tagines such as this one. Here, chicken is stewed until tender with onions, saffron, ginger, ​and pepper, and the dish is then topped with apricots and a honey-cinnamon syrup. Fried almonds or sesame seeds are traditional, but optional, garnishes. 

The seasoning here reflects a preference for fruit tagines that are zesty and a bit peppery. Feel free to reduce the white and black peppers (and Ras el Hanout, if using) if you want a seasoning that is on the mild side. Keep in mind that the cooking time is for traditional clay or ceramic tagine preparation. If you prepare this dish with conventional cookware, the ingredients will cook faster, so keep an eye on the chicken and sauce to make sure it doesn't overcook; you may need to reduce the cooking time by up to an hour.

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken (cut into 4 or 8 pieces)

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon Ras el Hanout, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

For the Tagine:

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium onions (grated) 

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic (pressed or finely chopped)

  • 1 or 2 small pieces of cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)

  • Small handful of cilantro sprigs tied into a bouquet

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey

  • 1 cup dried apricots

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Handful of fried almonds, optional

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the chicken ingredients.

    chicken pieces and spices

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Combine the spices in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken.

    chicken spices in bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add the chicken and toss to evenly coat the pieces with the spices.

    chicken pieces tossed with spices in bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Gather the remaining tagine ingredients.

    tagine ingredients gathered

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the base of a large tagine or Dutch oven.

    butter melting in bottom of tagine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and cinnamon stick

    onions and cinnamon in tagine with butter

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Add the seasoned chicken, meat-side down, in a single layer on top of the onions.

    raw marinated chicken in tagine on top of onion mixture

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Place the cilantro bouquet on top. Add the broth to the tagine.

    cilantro bundle and broth in tagine with other ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. In the bowl used to season the chicken, swirl the water to cleanse it of the spices.

    water in bowl that formerly had chicken with marinade

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  10. Add the water to the tagine.

    extra water from bowl added to tagine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  11. Cover and leave the liquids to reach a simmer over medium-low heat.

    lid placed on full tagine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  12. Once simmering, cook the chicken, undisturbed, for 1 hour.

    simmering tagine full of chicken

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  13. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquids and set aside. 

    spoon in tagine scooping out some of the cooking liquids

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  14. Carefully turn over the chicken pieces so that they are meat-side up.

    chicken pieces turned over in tagine

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  15. Cover the pan and continue simmering for another 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is done and the liquids are thick and reduced.

    chicken in tagine cooked through and finished

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  16. While the chicken is cooking, put the apricots in a small pot and cover with water.

    dried apricots in small pot with water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  17. Simmer the apricots over medium heat, partially covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender enough to pinch in half with your fingers.

    pot with water and apricots, covered on stove top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  18. Drain the apricots and return to the pot.

    plumped apricots drained, returned to pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  19. Add the sugar (or honey), ground cinnamon, and the 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.

    apricots with reserved tagine cooking liquid in pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  20. Simmer the apricots gently for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are sitting in a thick syrup.

    apricots with reduced cooking liquid in pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  21. Discard the cilantro bouquet and cinnamon stick from the tagine.

    cilantro and cinnamon stick on small plate off to side, tagine in center

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  22. Arrange the chicken on a large serving platter (or simply leave in the base of the tagine). Spoon the apricots and syrup on and around the chicken. If desired, garnish with fried almonds or sesame seeds.

    finished chicken tagine with apricots and almonds to garnish

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • If there seems to be too much liquid, it is quicker to reduce them in a small pot or skillet and then return them to the tagine.
  • The use of a diffuser with a tagine is necessary when cooking on electric or ceramic stovetops.

Benefits of Using a Tagine

Although you can use a heavy-bottomed pot to make a tagine, there are benefits to using a traditional ceramic Moroccan tagine. The cone shape allows the steam to circulate, moving up the insides of the lid and then returning to the ingredients at the bottom, helping them stay nice and moist. As an added bonus, the tagine is the serving dish as well as the cooking vessel, saving you from cleaning additional dishes.