Paleo Recipe: Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives


I’m always delighted to find “normal” recipes that happen to be Paleo, including this chicken tagine recipe from Tagine by Ghillie Basan. You can find preserved lemons at Sur La Table, Middle Eastern markets, and some specialty markets or you can make your own.


  • 4 chicken thighs (with bones and skin)
  • 11/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 preserved lemons, cut into strips
  • 6 ounces cracked green olives
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano

For the marinade:

  • 1 onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • Small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Fresh lemon juice from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish. Add the chicken thighs and coat them in the marinade. Cover and chill for at least two hours or overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a tagine or heavy, stove-proof casserole dish. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brown them in the oil. Pour the rest of the marinade into the tagine and add water until the sauce level comes halfway up the chicken. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover with a lid, and simmer on low to medium-low heat for approximately 45 minutes. Turn the chicken every ten minutes or so.

Add the preserved lemons, olives, and half the thyme to the tagine. Cover again and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the remaining time over the dish. Serve immediately.