Tagines (stews), usually made in a ceramic pot with a conical shaped dome, are a staple of Moroccan cuisine. I’ve made this recipe several times for guests who have always enjoyed the flavors of North Africa. This recipe calls for fresh lemons, but in Morocco preserved lemons would be used. If you can find them, they’ll add a more authentic taste. This recipe serves eight.

2 4 to 4 1/2 pound chickens, each cut into 8 pieces

8 medium onions, finely chopped

2 bunches parsley, stemmed, chopped

2 bunches cilantro, stemmed, chopped

24 garlic cloves, chopped

4 lemons, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges

6 tablespoons olive oil

8 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 1/2 cups brine-cured olives, such as Kalamata

Fresh cilantro sprigs

Divide chicken, onions, parsley, chopped cilantro, garlic, lemons, oil, cumin, ginger, pepper and saffron between two large heavy Dutch ovens. Cover, simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is almost cooked through, stirring occasionally and adding up to a cup of water to each Dutch oven if needed to prevent sticking, about 40 minutes.

Add half of olives to each Dutch oven, cover and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large shallow bowl. Garnish with cilantro springs and serve. Couscous is an ideal accompaniment — and very Moroccan.

Feb 11, 2010

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