Green Olives And Saffron Chicken

Green Olives And Saffron Chicken

Green Olives And Saffron Chicken 1903 1260 Rouba Shahin Middle Eastern Cooking

Green olives and saffron chicken is a traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces slow cooked with spices, garlic, onion, green olives, and preserved lemons. It’s the perfect dinner party recipe and so easy to throw together.

As preserved lemons are a specialty ingredient that can be difficult to find, this recipe uses lemon juice instead to add a tart flavour to the chicken.

Serve this on a platter or individual plates on a bed of couscous. For a gluten-free option, replace the couscous with rice.

green olives and saffron chicken tagine served on white plate


  • 1 chicken cut into 8’s or 8 chicken chops
  • juice of 2 lemons (approximately 120 ml)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger ground
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • ½ cup (firmly packed) coriander chopped + extra for garnish
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup green olives pitted
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ground


  • 2 cups of couscous
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water

green olives and saffron chicken tagine ingredients

Notes from Rouba

  • Chicken chops are a great alternative to a whole chicken cut into 8’s as they remain tender even if slightly overcooked, and the bones and skin add depth of flavour to the dish.
  • The longer you marinate the chicken in the lemon juice, the tastier it will be.
  • If your olives are bitter, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes.


Step 1.
Pour the juice from a lemon over the chicken pieces. Season with salt and set aside.

lemon marinated chicken chops

Step 2.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed shallow pan. Add the slivered almonds and cook until golden in colour. Remove and set aside.

Using the same oil, add the onion and crushed garlic and saute until translucent. Add the ground ginger, turmeric, saffron, parsley, and coriander. Give it a stir.

Add the chicken pieces and cook on both sides until slightly brown. Add the water, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes. 

Step 3.
Meanwhile, tip the couscous into a heatproof bowl and pour over the water or stock. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and leave for 5-10 mins until the couscous is soft.

Fluff the couscous up with a fork, drizzling with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

green olives and saffron chicken tagine simmering on the stove

Step 4.
Turn the chicken over, add the olives, cover with a lid and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle over the cumin. Season to taste and top with the remaining chopped coriander.

green olives and saffron chicken tagine in a frying pan

Step 5.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Grill, skin side up until well browned.

Alternatively, place the chicken skin-side down on a hot griddle pan.

Serve the chicken along with the liquid over the couscous. Garnish with slivered almonds.

green olives and saffron chicken tagine served on white plate

Servings: serves 6-8

Why you’ll love this:

Fragrant with exotic flavours
Minimal effort for a substantial meal
Infused with Moroccan flavours
Easy to follow recipe

Sahtan – Enjoy In Good Health