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Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine

Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine

Holy Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine – this stuff is plenty good.  I adapted it from Daniel Boulud’s recipe, tweaking it a bit to use things in my pantry.  There are quite a few ingredients (lots of spices) and some that are pricey (saffron and preserved lemons).  But if you like enjoy the flavors of Morocco try it.  It’s not complicated but allow some time to prep – a good choice for entertaining or celebrating – your kitchen will smell amazing.

How Nutritious is Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine?

  • Ginger, turmeric, onions, olives  and garlic are natural anti-inflammatories
  • Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, provides fiber and is a good source of glucosinolates.
  • Chicken provides protein.
  • Olives contribute additional phytonutrients as do tomatoes.

Ingredients for Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 chicken thighs (I used Bell & Evans boneless, skinless, organic – see note below for more thoughts on this)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil + additional for sauté.
  • 1-2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3-4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • pinch saffron
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock, homemade or low sodium
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 preserved lemon, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Method for Chicken and Cauliflower Tagine

  • Assemble ingredients.

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  • Mix together the first six dry spices.  Toss that with the chicken thighs, along with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, coating all thighs well.  Set aside which prepping other ingredients (refrigerate for several hours or overnight if you like).

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  • Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and add cauliflower, cook for about 3 minutes and remove pieces from pot with slotted spoon or spider and drop immediately into chilled water to cool and refresh.  Drain well.
  • When all ingredients are assembled and prepped, heat a large, heavy bottomed lidded pot to medium high heat (hot but not smoking).  Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and add the chicken thighs.  Do not crowd the pan, do in batches if necessary. Cook the thighs several minutes on each side until they are seared and browned.  Remove to a platter and continue until all thighs are seared.

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  • In the same pan add the drained cauliflower (add a little olive oil if necessary).  Slightly brown the pieces and remove to platter with the chicken.


  • Add the diced onions to the pan (and a tad more olive oil if necessary) and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to turn translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic, saffron and ginger and stir to combine.


  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, preserved lemon, cinnamon sticks and olives.  Bring to a simmer and season with salt & pepper (I used about 3/4 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper but adjust to your preference – this will also depend on saltiness of stock and olives)


  • Add the chicken thighs, reduce to low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.


  • Add cauliflower and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Combine well and check to make sure cauliflower is tender enough.
  • Adjust salt  & pepper if necessary and stir in the chopped cilantro.

Enjoy with rice or couscous.


  1. I use Bell & Evans and, in general,  look for producers who provide humane conditions and healthy diet.  These products generally cost more, but I eat much less meat, poultry and seafood (preferring a mostly plant-based diet) and invest in higher quality products which are better for the animals and healthier for me.  This helps keep the food budget in line.
  2. Don’t eat chicken?  No problem.  The deliciousness of this dish really comes from the spice mix, olives and lemons (the cauliflower is wonderful).  Substitute vegetable stock for chicken and add a few more vegetables to the mix (add your favorites, but potatoes and chick peas come to mind for me – and maybe some swiss chard or spinach at the end! – I may have to make that for myself soon).
  3. Preserved lemons are rather pricey, but they look simple to make – will try some soon and, if good, will post for you – they add such a nice touch.


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