Monday, February 25, 2008

Couscous with chicken tagine, green olives and preserved lemons

The problem with blogging is that sometimes you simply do not have the time to write a new post everyday... and, of course, sometimes there is nothing interesting to say! I have not written my blog for a week because I have been manic trying to fit work around the kids (half term) and the running.

The most exciting thing for me is that I have been writing a magazine article - for the Running Magazine "Running Fitness", which should be published in the pre-London edition in March. Writing this and having photos taken etc has taken all week.

My running has been fine. I have run 30 miles this week, but I have delayed my long run until today, as we had friends over for a meal yesterday and I was not in the mood for a "dawn run". We did have a delicious meal, however, which was appreciated by both adults and children (age 8 upwards) alike, so I am hoping that my run will go well today (15 mile, 12 miles at marathon pace). Pudding was a seville orange tart (basically a lemon tart but with seville oranges) and mini chocolate mousses just to completely finish us all off!

Couscous with Chicken tagine with green olives and preserved lemons
This is a very warming and comforting dish. The couscous is low to medium G.I., the tagine is low fat and is packed with vitamins. Marinate the chicken the day before and it takes no time to prepare - you don't even have to brown the meat very thoroughly. You can get smoked paprika from most supermarkets now. It is usually in the delicatessen section.

Serves 4
You will need:

8 skinless free-range chicken thighs, each cut into about three


  • 3 tbs. good olive oil
  • ¼ tsp each cayenne pepper and back pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp.each ground cumin, ground coriander, sweet paprika, ground ginger
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbs. water

Flour for coating the chicken
2 large onions, sliced finely
Big bunch of chopped flat-leafed parsley and big bunch or chopped coriander(keep some aside to sprinkle on top for decoration)
A cinnamon stick
Chicken stock
About 20 nice green olives
2 preserved lemons (plus a little of the juice from the jar)
¼ tsp smoked paprika

For the couscous:
250g couscous (wholemeal if you can get it)
1 tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil


  1. If you have time, combine the chicken with the marinade and leave in the fridge overnight or for as long as you can. Bring the chicken back to room temperature.
  2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a tagine or heavy-bottomed casserole dish, add the onions and cook gently for about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and set them aside.
  3. Lightly coat the chicken with flour (just put some flour into a plastic bag with the chicken and shake it about a little). Increase the heat, add some more oil and then brown the chicken quickly.
  4. Pop the onions back into the pot and add the reserved marinade, the cinnamon stick, the chopped herbs and enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Slice the preserved lemons and discard the pips. Add the lemons, the olives and the smoked paprika to the simmering chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Test according to taste for seasoning – it may need more salt and pepper, perhaps an extra kick with a sprinkle of cayenne, cumin or coriander, or some lemon juice. I often add some of the brine from the preserved lemons.
  7. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs you set aside and serve with plain couscous.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kate, It's Tess's Mum here,your guests of yesterday.
like the sound of this recipe, how about using gram flour to coat the meat before? Might make a subtle change of flavour! i am writing some articles for a foodie mag, so keep om keeping on! Jill R.

foodierunner said...

Hi Jill, how nice to hear from you and thank you for suggesting gram flour - an inspired suggestion, as anything made chick peas is great for runners. They have a really low G.I. factor and keep you going for longer! Could you let me know which magazine you are writing for so that I can get myself a copy? I have an article coming out in "Running Fitness" and some recipes in Country Kitchen in a feature on running recipes. It looks like I will be making some foodie contributions on a monthly basis for the running magazine, so things are going well! Let's speak soon... Katexx