Chicken tagine with chickpeas and apricots recipe

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Tagines are a North African specialty: exotically spiced, assertively flavored stews slow-cooked in earthenware vessels of the same name. Traditional recipes usually require a time-consuming cooking method, a special pot (the tagine), and hard-to-find ingredients; we wanted to make tagines more accessible. First off, we found that a Dutch oven was a serviceable substitute for a tagine. Almost all of the recipes we collected called for a whole chicken, cut into pieces, but we found thighs alone to be juicier and more tender; plus, their uniform size meant they cooked evenly. Chickpeas, carrots, onion, and garlic rounded out the stew, and dried apricots lent pops of sweetness. Since the spice blend for tagines can contain upward of 30 spices, we experimented until we landed on a blend that was short on ingredients but long on flavor. Cumin and ginger lent depth, cinnamon brought warmth, and citrusy coriander boosted the stew’s lemon flavor (as did a couple of broad ribbons of lemon zest). Serve with couscous or rice.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


  • 8 (5-to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 3 (2-inch) strips lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1¼ teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add thighs and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and discard skin. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.
  2. Add onion and 2 strips lemon zest to now-empty pot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 teaspoons garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth, carrots, chickpeas, and honey, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle thighs into pot along with any accumulated juices and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until thighs register 195 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Transfer chicken to plate and discard lemon zest. Using large spoon, skim excess fat from surface of sauce. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot.
  4. Stir in apricots, bring to simmer over medium heat, and cook until apricots are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Mince remaining 1 strip lemon zest and add to pot, along with lemon juice, remaining garlic, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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