Chef’s Corner: Chicken Tagine with Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Posted on May 1, 2024


Flavored with preserved lemons, olives, onions and classic Moroccan spices, Chicken Tagine is a delicious and exotic dish that is full of sweet, tangy and fragrant ingredients. It features pull-apart chicken seasoned with aromatic spices that melds perfectly with the bright citrus zest of the preserved lemons and the savory flavors of caramelized onions and green olives.

About Chef Damon

With over 30 years of experience in hospitality, culinary arts, and airline catering, Damon is known for his passion in the culinary arts. As VP of Culinary, Damon is responsible Chef Damon Kesslerfor overseeing all culinary center kitchen operations, as well as research and development. This includes designing new meals, formulating recipes, and ensuring the highest standards across the board. Damon spends his weekends with his wife and kids experimenting in the kitchen or out on a family adventure together

Chicken Tagine with Roasted Vegetable Couscous (Yields 4 – 6 servings)

Ingredients - Chicken Tagine

  • ¼ tsp. saffron threads, pulverized
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin 
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 8 cracked green olives, pitted
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients - Roasted Vegetable Couscous

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 14.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1.5 tbsp. minced fresh mint



Chicken Tagine

  1. Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, and turmeric together. If not using kosher chicken, add ½ tsp. salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate, and marinate 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Heat oil in heavy skillet, then add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine, if you are using one, or leave in skillet. Add cinnamon stick.
  3. Add chicken over onions, and scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove pulp, and cut skin in strips, then scatter over chicken. Mix stock and lemon juice and pour over chicken.
  4. Cover tagine or skillet. Place over low heat, cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley on top, and serve.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

  1. In a non stick pan, heat olive oil and sauté bell pepper, carrots, onions, and zucchini. Season with salt and cook until tender, tossing while vegetables are cooking.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, in a separate pot bring chicken stock to a boil and cook couscous until tender. 
  3. In a separate small mixing bowl whisk together remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and season with 1/4 tsp salt, set aside.
  4. Add roasted vegetables to couscous and toss. Then, add chickpeas, almonds, cilantro, mint, and lemon mixture to couscous and toss to evenly coat. Serve warm.

Contributed by Damon Kessler, VP of Culinary