Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

Cutting up a whole chicken seems like one of those kitchen artforms lost to time, literally because there’s not enough of it. My mom dismantled whole birds on the regular when I was a kid because doing it yourself was so much cheaper than paying for the boneless, skinless. It’s a thing I’ve only gotten better at in the last year or so (I won’t go so far as to say I’m good at it), because there are still hack jobs here and there.  A whole bird cut up was just the thing for this chicken tagine with chickpeas. The good news is, this is pantry cooking, so long as you’ve got the chicken, you probably have everything else in the cupboard.

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in the New York Times, this version incorporates the suggestion from commenters on the original to double the spices and takes into account you’re more likely to have canned tomatoes and chickpeas around at this time of year.

Without browning the chicken first, you might take the lid off at the end of 45 minutes and think that chicken is looking a little pale. No worries, you’ll thicken the sauce slightly and then spoon it over the chicken to give it a nice orange gloss.

Serve it over pearl couscous – I generally do 2 c. pearl couscous to 2 c. water with 1/2 t. salt — to serve 4-6 people. Need a salad to go with? Try Smitten Kitchen’s carrot salad with harissa, feta and mint.

Stay warm out there.

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • 2 T. canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 c. golden raisins
  • 2 14.5 oz cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Italian parsley and cilantro, chopped (to garnish)



In small bowl, combine the spices and set aside.


Melt butter and oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Add the garlic, spices, raisins and cook until fragrant. Stir in water, tomatoes and chickpeas.


Season the chicken with salt and then nestle the pieces into the pot. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to low or medium-low so that it simmers constantly. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour until the chicken is tender.


Remove chicken from the pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes so the sauce reduces slightly. Add the chicken back to the pot. Serve over pearl couscous.

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