Green Olives and Saffron Chicken

🕔 2 mins (total)
Traditional Moroccan tajine of chicken with saffron, lemons and olives.
Traditional Moroccan tajine of chicken with saffron, lemons and olives.

For this recipe from the Mediterranean, we are headed to Morocco. Saffron chicken with green olives is a traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces slow-cooked with lemon juice, spices, garlic, onion and green olives. Similar tajine dishes are common across North Africa, from Morocco, through Algeria and Tunisia, to Libya. The dish takes its name from the earthenware pot in which it is cooked.


  • 1 chicken cut into eighths; or 8 chicken chops

  • 120ml of lemon juice (the juice of 2 regular-size lemons approx.)

  • 60ml of olive oil

  • 1 onion finely diced

  • 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves

  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground

  • 70g of chopped fresh cilantro, plus a little extra for garnish

  • 70g of chopped parsley

  • 180g of pitted green olives, halved

  • 475ml of water


  • 330g of couscous

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 475ml of chicken stock


Step 1

  • Marinate your chicken pieces in the lemon juice. Season with salt and set aside. The longer you marinate the chicken the tastier and more tart it will be.

Step 2

  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed shallow pan, add the onion and crushed garlic and saute until almost transparent. Add the ground ginger, turmeric, saffron, parsley, and coriander and stir everything together.
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook on both sides until slightly brown. Add the water, cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

Step 3

  • While the chicken is simmering, put your couscous into a heatproof bowl and pour over the hot chicken stock. Cover with a lid or clingfilm and leave for 5-7 mins. Check that the couscous is soft and no longer crunchy. If not yet soft, cover again and leave for another few minutes.
  • Fluff up the couscous with a fork to prevent it clumping and then drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

  • After the chicken has simmered for 15 minutes, turn it over and at this stage add the olives. Cover again with the lid and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle over the cumin and season to taste. Garnish with the remaining chopped cilantro set aside earlier. Step 5
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and place skin side up on an oven tray lined with baking paper and grill until well browned.
  • Serve the chicken on a bed of couscous, pouring the liquid over the lot

Bon Profit!

Check out our other recipes for Mediterranean dishes to try at home.

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