Pic of Chicken, lemon and ginger tagine with Christmas jewelled couscous

Chicken, lemon and ginger tagine with Christmas jewelled couscous

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Meat mains

Chicken, lemon and ginger tagine with Christmas jewelled couscous

Main Serves 2 1h 5 min
Caramelised onion tagine, flavoured with lemon, honey and ginger, served with a Christmas themed, jewelled couscous with toasted nuts, dried cranberries and dates. A healthy, lighter option for the festive season.


  • 2 very large or more smaller onions
  • 25g butter
  • oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50g ginger
  • 15g mint
  • 30g parsley
  • 25g flaked almonds
  • 2 chicken thighs and 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g couscous
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 lemons
  • 50g date pieces – please check for stray stones
  • 25g toasted hazelnuts
  • salt and pepper
Image of Chicken, lemon and ginger tagine with Christmas jewelled couscous


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 55 min
  • Step 1

    Peel and finely slice the onions. Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-based pan, one with a lid. Add the onions and a good pinch of salt (the salt helps draw out some of their moisture, so they caramelise quicker). Turn the heat right down low.
  • Step 2

    Cook for 30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and caramelised. Add a splash of water if they look like burning at any point, and stir more often towards the end of cooking. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop, grate or crush 2 garlic cloves.
  • Step 3

    Peel and finely grate the ginger (use a sharp-edged teaspoon to peel without waste), grating enough so you have a good 1 tablespoon's worth. Wash the mint and parsley, and shake them dry. Put the almonds in a dry frying pan. Heat gently, turning now and then, until golden.
  • Step 4

    Remove to a plate. Rub as much leftover skin off the hazelnuts as you can. Roughly chop them, not too small, just in half or quarter's. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Add the chicken, thighs skin-side down. Fry until golden.
  • Step 5

    Continue to cook on a low-ish heat, turning the thighs skin-side up and turning the drumsticks over now and then, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil a kettle. Put the cranberries and couscous in a heatproof bowl (or use a saucepan). Add a good glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  • Step 6

    Pour over enough hot water to cover the couscous, plus an extra 1cm. Stir and leave to stand. After 30 minutes, add the honey, garlic, ginger, paprika and cinnamon to the onions. Grate in the zest from half a lemon. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and add 150ml water.
  • Step 7

    Stir it together, then nestle the chicken amongst the onions (thighs skin-side up). Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked. Give the onions underneath a little nudging stir now and then, to stop them catching.
  • Step 8

    Add a splash more water if needs be. By the end you should have a thick onion sauce under the chicken. While the chicken cooks, finely chop the parsley and mint leaves. Check the chicken is cooked by piercing in the thickest part; no pink juices should remain.
  • Step 9

    If it needs longer, the onions will happily cook for a few more minutes. Check the seasoning. Add the dates, hazelnuts, almonds and most of the parsley and mint to the couscous. Finely grate in a little lemon zest (about half the remaining lemon).
  • Step 10

    Gently toss, adding lemon juice, olive oil and more salt to taste. Serve with the chicken and onions, sprinkling over the rest of the herbs to garnish.

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