Chicken Tagine And Saffron Couscous

Braai Day and, more importantly, Heritage Day calls for friends and family to gather together and cook a hearty meal on the braai. This year, break away from the usual pap, broedtjies and vleis by trying out this chicken tagine and saffron couscous recipe from Safaris and Spices (Jacana Media), R320, by Nico Verster. Historically, a Berber Moroccan dish is cooked over hot coals, so make this your braai day surprise. 

Serves 6–8


¼ cup olive oil
1 chicken, portioned into 8 pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 white onion chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dried apricots, sliced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons berberé spice
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons preserved lemon, chopped
1 cup white wine
1½ L chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
4 portions couscous scented with saffron


  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large tagine pot on medium heat.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then sear the chicken on all sides until golden brown; remove from the pot and set aside.
  4. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until brown, then stir in the tomato paste.
  5. Place the chicken pieces, apricots, celery, berberé spice, thyme, lemon, white wine and stock into the pot, covering the chicken pieces.
  6. Bring to the boil, then cover with the tagine lid and place in the oven for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces from the sauce using a slotted spoon and set aside. Allow the liquid to come to the boil on the stove top at medium temperature, reducing by half, about 15–20 minutes. Whisk the butter into the sauce.
  8. Return the chicken to the sauce and serve with the couscous.

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