Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Saffron

A delicious Middle-Eastern dish for low-cal days


  • Cooking oil spray
  • 4 chicken thighs, skinned but on the bone
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and sliced
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 3cm fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 small preserved lemons, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon, handful of coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds, to serve


  • Heat a little oil in a tagine or large flameproof casserole, add chicken thighs and brown all over.
  • Add onions, celery and garlic, and sweat on a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomatoes, stock, saffron, turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, honey, ginger, cinnamon stick, preserved lemons and harissa.
  • Stir, replace lid and simmer on a low heat for 1 ½ hours.
  • Season well.
  • Just before serving, shred chicken off the bone and return to the pot.
  • Serve garnished with a squeeze of lemon, and plenty of chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4

162 calories per portion

From Fast Cook by Mimi Spencer

You don't have to forgo flavour on your low-cal days.  If you're cooking for two, this tastes even better the next day.  Chicken is a great source of the essential amino acid, tryptophan.  While chicken breasts are lower in fat, thighs are fuller in flavour.  Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory spice thought to protect against dementia.  It also is a powerful anti-oxidant, protecting fats from oxidation during the cooking process.  Tomatoes are a rich source of the cancer-fighting phytochemical, lycopene.