Pic of Chicken, spinach and chickpea tagine

Chicken, spinach and chickpea tagine

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Meat mains

Chicken, spinach and chickpea tagine

Main Serves 2 35 min
Harissa is a spicy blend of chilli, herbs and garlic. We've advised using half to start, tasting and adding more towards the end, depending on your preference for heat. We're using baby spinach here, which can be wilted down in the pan in handfuls. If you make it again with larger leaved spinach, it's best to blanch, refresh and chop it first.

Cook's notes

Preserved lemons are a staple in my cupboard. If you fancy having a go at making them, we sell the kits from time to time. Although it's easy to buy them ready-made in jars now. It's just the skins that are eaten, not the flesh. Often used in tagines, they're also good for perking up salads or salsa.


  • 100g wholemeal couscous
  • olive oil
  • 400g baby spinach
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 25g ginger
  • 1 piece preserved lemon
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 300g diced chicken breast
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 75g dried apricot pieces
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper
Image of Chicken, spinach and chickpea tagine


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Boil a kettle of water. Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Add a glug of oil and a good pinch of salt. Pour over enough of the boiled water from the kettle to just cover the couscous. Leave to stand.
  • Step 2

    Wash the spinach. Peel, halve and finely slice the onion. Peel and crush, grate or finely chop 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves. Peel and finely grate the ginger. Scoop the flesh out of the preserved lemon and discard it. Finely chop the rind; it is this that you want (the flesh is too salty).
  • Step 3

    Drain the tin of chickpeas into a colander and rinse with cold water. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy based pan. Add the chicken. Fry, turning the pieces now and then, until golden brown.
  • Step 4

    Don't crowd the pan, cook in 2 batches if needs be. Remove them to a plate. Add the onion and a splash more oil to the same pan. Fry gently, stirring now and then for 10 minutes. Add a splash of water if it looks like it might catch at any point. After 10 minutes, add the garlic, ginger, half the harissa, the preserved lemon, dried mint and dried apricots.
  • Step 5

    Gently warm for 1 minute. Add chicken back to the pan, with the chickpeas. Add 250ml of water, cover and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Check the liquid at intervals and add a little more water if needed. While the tagine is simmering, wash half the pack of coriander.
  • Step 6

    Shake dry and roughly chop the leaves. After 10 minutes, add the spinach in handfuls, stirrring it in until just wilted, a few seconds at a time, per handful. Taste the dish and add a little more harissa depending on how hot you like your food.
  • Step 7

    Fluff the couscous up with a fork. Divide between 2 serving bowls or plates. Stir the coriander leaves into the tagine, check the seasoning and serve with the couscous.

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