Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Chicken Tagine with Dates & Chickpeas

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Chicken Tagine with Dates & Chickpeas
Chicken Tagine with chickpeas, dates and spices. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Dates, chickpeas, spices … that fruity and spicy combination that makes Moroccan cuisine the delight that it is, are what this dish is all about.

This is the kind of dish that comes from knowing something about a particular cuisine and then getting inventive. We had a can of chickpeas to hand, and one of those rectangular packs of dates tightly wrapped in cellophane. Out came the spice box from the big cupboard, down came the tagine from the top of the dresser, and this was the outcome.


(Serves 4)

8 thicken thighs

3 Tbs olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves

250 g dates

400 g can chickpeas and their brine

1 stick cinnamon bark

2 tsp ground coriander seeds

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (more if you prefer)

½ tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful of parsley, chopped


Preheat the oven to 220℃. On the stove top, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil in a tagine (or other heavy casserole), with the cinnamon stick and bay leaves, till soft. Add the contents of the can of chickpeas (including the brine). Chop the dates and add, along with the coriander, cumin and chilli flakes, and season well with salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs, skin side up.

Put the lid on and place in the oven to cook for 40 minutes. Take it out of the oven, remove the lid, and return to the oven for the chicken skin to brown in the open heat. Remove, sprinkle chopped parsley over, and serve with buttery couscous.

TGIFood Tip: You can increase the spiciness if you like by adding a little ground turmeric, star anise, ground ginger, or cloves (but go easy, cloves are very dominant). For an extra bit of class, stir in a pinch of saffron just before adding the chicken (but omit turmeric if using saffron). You can substitute chopped coriander leaves for the parsley if you prefer. And if chilli is your thing, you know what to do. DM/TGIFood

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