Tadjine Djej bel kosbour is a North Africa classic. That is iften referred to as Tadjine Djej bel zeitoun Marocaine. It is classic that should revisited and revisited often. The method of marinating the chicken overnight in the chermoula then cooking it for hours at time creates a succulent, tender, and full of flavor dish that will surely be a favourite at any table.
While this dish does take a little bit more effort then one would want for the average weekday meal ... it is well worth the extra steps when you slip a bite of this dish into your mouth. Its sublime quality will make up for all the trouble!!!
The magic of this dish is the delicate balance of the ingredients: the salty goodness of the olives, crunchy sourness of the preserved lemon and the juicy fragrant chicken inviting you keep eating. Wasting not even a drop of the precious sauce.
This tadjine is made in Morocco but also here in Algeria. There are more spices used in the Moroccan version, and also the addition of the preserved lemon. Here, in Algeria preserved lemon is not used in the cooking - such a shame, it lends quite a unique flavour. Today, I present the Moroccan style of this dish with my slight improvements.
Tadjine Djej bel Kosbour (aka Tadjine Djej bel zeitoun)
- 1 chicken, cleaned and cut up or least one piece for everyone
- 150 g green and violette olives
- 1 large onion, diced fine
- bunch of cilantro
- bunch of parsely
- 3 red peppers, roasted and sliced up into rings
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 5 TBS olive oil
- 1 TBS paprika
- threads of saffron or 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 preserved lemon, cut up into alluments
- 1 hot small pepper (leave this out if you prefer a mild sauce or remove the seeds for less heat)
- Chop fine all the chermoula ingredients or as I do, add it all into the robocoupe to get them chopped up fine. The preserved lemon will be enough salt for the chicken.
- Add the chicken and chermoula into a dish to marinade overnight. The key to a good tadjine with meat is leaving the meat to sit in the marinade, infusing all the ingredients of the chermoula. Longer you leave the chicken, the best it will absorb the flavours thus, getting you more interesting and tender. Your tadjine will still good if you donnot marinade overnight but given all it takes it placing some ingredients in a robocoup; pulsing them until they get fine then rubbing them on the chicken - well that's easy enough to not have an excuse to take the extra time.
- Once, you are ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade. Reserve the marinde.
- While a Moroccan will tell you just lay the chicken with the chermoula along with all the other ingredients, I like to brown off the onion until golden.
- Then stir fry the reserved chermoula for about 2-3 minutes.
- Now I add in the chicken parts.
- The herbs, garlic, peppers, olives and the bay leaf.
- Add enough water to cover the chicken.
- Slow braise on low heat for about 50 minutes to 1 hour depending on the amount of the chicken.
- Once the chicken is cooked tender, add in the lemon juice.
- Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and parsely.
Although, a tadjine is best and recommonded to make any tadjine dish. It is not required. (See how I just used a non-stick Dutch oven) But seriously, the tadjine with its heavy bottom and dome cone lid is the prefect vessel to marinade, then slow braise the meat. The food will cook evenly without burning over the several hours needed for the chicken. And with the dome shape the vapours coming off the stew will circulate over and over repenetrating the meat over and over again - instead of escaping through the steam hole of most lids.
Making preserved lemons is rather easy so no need to buy them. Here is the method.
In my version, I have added the preserved lemons which, again is not used in Algerian cooking. But also roasted red peppers for the mild smokeyness of them and also violette (Kalamata) olives which lend an Earthyness that simply IMHO green olives do not have. And not to mention all these are visual eating for the eyes! Try these changes out!
This can be served simply with crusty bread to mop up the sauce, but also a very Algerian thing to do is served fritte - french fries with but another option probably one that sounds very traditional Maghrebine but believe me is not - is to serve couscous along side.