Moroccan-style chicken with sour cherries & olives

By adding dried fruit, Tom Kerridge brings a subtle sweetness to this North African chicken tagine. Plus, you can double up and freeze half for later

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:45 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 508
  • fat 28g
  • saturates 6g
  • carbs 35g
  • sugars 0g
  • fibre 8g
  • protein 26g
  • salt 2.3g


  • 8 free-range chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
  • 2 tbsp ras el hanout
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste (see tip, below)
  • ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped, or 1 strip of lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 300g pitted green olives, drained
  • 100g dried sour cherries or any other dried fruit (like cranberries, apricots, raisins or sultanas)
  • chopped coriander and cooked couscous (see tips, below), to serve


Dried fruit couscous 

Another way to use dried fruits is in a side dish for this recipe. Cook 250g couscous in boiling stock or water following pack instructions, then stir in 75g raisins, sultanas, currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped dried apricots. You can also add the zest and juice of ½ lemon and chopped coriander, if you like. 

Chicken pastilla 

Shred any leftover chicken, mix with more dried fruit of your choice, then wrap in filo pastry to make triangles. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 25 mins until golden. Serve with any leftover sauce.

Moroccan-style vegan squash tagine 

Swap the chicken for 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks, and the chicken stock for veg stock. No need to fry the squash first – simply add it with the carrots. 

Moroccan-style lamb stew 

For a lamb version of this dish, swap the chicken for 800g diced lamb (neck fillet is good), and simmer everything for 30 mins more than the time stated, or until the lamb is tender.

Make it in a slow cooker 

Whether you choose the chicken, veggie or lamb version of this recipe, it can be cooked in a slow cooker instead of on the hob. Cook for 8 hrs on low or 4hrs on high.


  1. Season the chicken well, and toss with the ras el hanout to coat. This can be prepared the night before and kept chilled. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole or frying pan over a medium heat and spend 15-20 mins browning the chicken on all sides. (You can do this in batches to avoid crowding the pan.) Transfer the chicken to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside.

  2. Cook the onions and carrots in the pan for 8-10 mins until soft and golden, adding a drizzle more oil if the pan is dry. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 mins more. Stir in the harissa and preserved lemon. Cook for another minute until the vegetables are well coated and sticky. Add the cinnamon and bay leaves, then tip in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

  3. Cook for a few minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick paste. Tip the chicken and its resting juices back into the pan, and pour over the stock. Stir in the olives and cherries and return to a simmer. Put the lid on and simmer gently for 45 mins–1 hr until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

  4. Scatter over the chopped coriander and serve with couscous. Once completely cool, will keep chilled for up to three days or frozen for three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating over a low heat or in the microwave until piping hot.

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