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.

DinnerBradford Clinic