Spiced Chicken Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower

A one-pot supper, oven-baked chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices, olives and a touch of sourness from the exquisite Spiced Preserved Lemons.

Spiced Chicken Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower ♥ KitchenParade.com, a one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and a touch of sour from Spiced Preserved Lemons.

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Hearty & Filling. Low Carb. Gluten Free. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. One-Pot Meal. Low Carb. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.

Morning Rituals

Do you have a morning ritual that you treasure?

Here, it's the Sunday-morning ritual that I most treasure. It starts early, always with coffee, usually outside under the big maple tree when it's warm, usually tucked in by the fire when it's cold.

A grand plan for breakfast emerges. I'm happy to turn over the reins for man-style bacon and eggs, nearly always with no-recipe vegetables of some sort cooked and presented beautifully and other than delicious, never the same twice.

My contribution is to go for the Sunday papers, the dog shares this duty, it's a half mile up and back.

So no, it's not church. But even so, it's a holy time, one of reverence, spiritual uplift and human communion.

I like to think God approves.

I ♥ the Sunday Magazine!

My favorite part of the Sunday papers? The Times Sunday Magazine! I check it straight off because often the Sunday recipe turns into Sunday supper.

And have you seen what the Times has done to its food section, called Cooking? Check out what Sam Sifton's new leadership has collected, here or maybe here. So cool! There's some NYC-only stuff but plenty for the rest of us, all beautifully curated. I love the daily e-mail with two or three weeknight-perfect recipe ideas, seasonal, simple. It's my kinda food, maybe yours too?

UPDATE The NYT's recipe collection is now behind a paywall, that means most recipes (and the special organization/grocery list/other tools) are now accessible only with a separate subscription to Cooking. Since there are millions upon millions of free recipes out there on the internet, to say nothing of your own collection of cards, clipping and cookbooks. Is $40 a year (as of 2021) for access to these particular recipes worth it? For us, yes.

FYI This is not a sponsored post, just me, passing along something we find valuable.

Chicken with Winter Squash. Beef with Cauliflower. Finally the Chicken with Cauliflower.


Last November when Arctic Cold invaded much of the country, Chicken Tagine was our Sunday supper, inspired by that day's Sunday Magazine and chef Daniel Boulud.

But no way was I heading to the grocery store just because the recipe called for cauliflower!

So I substituted an on-hand butternut squash, it turned out beautifully!

The next week, I substituted round steak for the chicken, fresh cranberries for the olives and cut a head of cauliflower into snowy florets – so so good!

Then for this past Sunday dinner, I finally got down to "following" the recipe, chicken, spices, cauliflower and olives.

But sweet potato would work, so would potatoes, rutabagas, even a medley of fresh tomato, corn and okra during the summer season. Zucchini too? Yes! Just think of any vegetable that "tastes good" paired with lemon and can handle some spices.

This is season-crossing eating at its best.

But the one ingredient there's no skipping? The preserved lemon! What's that, you ask? Here's how I make Spiced Preserved Lemons.

Spiced Preserved Lemons ♥ KitchenParade.com, just lemons, salt and pantry spices, the cornerstone ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.

What Are Preserved Lemons?

Preserved lemons are a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine, adding an acidic, salty sourness to dishes that's oh-so-compelling. I've seen them in stores but really, it's so simple to preserve them yourself, literally just a few lemons preserved in a salty brine.

PLAN AHEAD Preserved lemons do need time to develop their flavors so be sure to get them going, allowing five days before cooking with them. Once they're made, there's no "canning" required, the pickling / fermentation happens right in your refrigerator.

THEY KEEP And once they're made, preserved lemons keep for months, even, um, years if my fridge is any indication. Just be sure the lemons remain submerged in the brine.

THERE'S NO GOOD SUBSTITUTE Food blogger Jules Clancy at Stonesoup suggests a mix of lemon zest and flaky sea salt. Hmmm. I also have the idea that Penzey's dried lemon powder might work, if you happen to have some.

But really, just make some. What's that recipe again? Spiced Preserved Lemons

What Is a Tagine?

Hello Word Dancers! First, the word is pronounced [tuh-jeen], rhymes with [BUH-lloon ] and [blue-JEANS]. Some times it's spelled tajine with a j.

The word "tagine" has two definitions.

  • A tagine is a special earthenware cooking vessel used in North Africa. Its lid is tall and pointy, like a dunce's cap. The cone shape funnels moisture into the top, where it drips back down, keeping the food moist. A tagine is used both for cooking and serving.
  • A tagine is also a stew cooked in that vessel or a substitute vessel like a braising pan or large cast iron skillet.
Spiced Chicken Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower ♥ KitchenParade.com, a one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and a touch of sour from Spiced Preserved Lemons.

How to Make Spiced Chicken & Roasted Cauliflower

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in five easy steps. You can do this!

  • ROAST THE CAULIFLOWER or other vegetables in the oven – but just partway, a short head start, since they'll spend nearly an hour in the oven with the chicken.
  • RAID YOUR SPICE BOTTLES for the spice blend, a heady mix of paprika, coriander, garlic powder, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, allspice, cardamom, salt and pepper. If you're missing one or two, just add a little more of another.
  • BROWN THE CHICKEN, first pulling the skins off the chicken thighs and/or legs, then tossing the chicken in the spices. (If you like, you can use some of the spice for the cauliflower too.) Pull the meat out of the skillet for the moment.
  • SAUTÉ THE NESTING VEGETABLES, starting with onion right in the same skillet, then stir in fresh ginger, a can of diced tomato and some chicken stock. Nestle the cauliflower into the skillet, then the chicken pieces in too.
  • BAKE FOR AN HOUR, first for 30 minutes, then smoosh in preserved lemon and olives, then another 30 minutes.

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

  • Does this dish require an actual tagine for cooking? No! All that's needed is an oven-safe deep, heavy skillet or Dutch oven (non-stick, cast iron, etc.) with a lid. We do have this lovely white stainless steel All-Clad tagine (affiliate link) – I love the drama of whisking off the domed lid at the table with great flourish! But to save on dishes for a one-pot supper, use a deep braising pan like this one. Whatever you choose, just make sure it's oven-safe and has a lid.

  • Would chicken breasts work here? Maybe. I haven't tried this recipe with chicken breasts, knowing that breast meat is so lean, it tends to dry out. But on the other hand! There's lots of moisture in the Nesting Vegetables plus the dish is covered while in the oven so ... breasts just might work. I'd recommend two adjustments. First, nest the breasts deep into the vegetables, maybe even make sure there's some over the tops. Second, instead of cooking for an hour, I'd use a meat thermometer inserted deep the thickest part of one breast and bake until the meat reaches a safe internal temperature of 165F/75C.

And Hey, Before You Go, Let's Talk About Sunday Morning Rituals

What about you? Is there a rhythm to your Sunday mornings that you treasure? Do share ... leave a comment below or send a quick note!

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this tagine hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...
Spiced Chicken Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower ♥ KitchenParade.com, a one-pot supper, chicken and roasted cauliflower with warm spices and a touch of sour from Spiced Preserved Lemons.


Hands-on time: 50 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 8 (easily halved, leftovers keep well)
  • 1 large head (1200g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and/or chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced in large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup good chicken stock
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • 1 preserved lemon, smashed with the back of a spoon (how to make Spiced Preserved Lemons)
  • 1/2 cup olives

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER Set oven to 400F/200C. For easy clean up, if you like, line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl (you'll use it again for the Spice Mix and Chicken), toss the cauliflower and olive oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer, let roast until just beginning to soft, about 20 minutes.

SPICE MIX Mix the spices in the same large bowl. (If you like, bring out the cauliflower, toss with a tablespoon of the spice mix, return to the oven to finish, still roasting for a total of 20 minutes.)

CHICKEN Tear off and discard the chicken skins. Toss the chicken pieces and the Spice Mix, thoroughly and evenly coating the chicken.

Heat the oil in the skillet on medium-high until hot and shimmery, add the chicken pieces – they should sizzle; the thighs go top-side down; don't crowd the pieces, you will likely need to cook the chicken in two or even three batches. Cook until brown on one side, turn and cook until brown on the other side. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.

NESTING VEGETABLES Add the onion to the hot skillet, scraping up spices and oil from the cooking vessel to coat the onion pieces. (If the skillet's a little dry, add a splash of water.) Cook just until beginning to soften, stirring often. Stir in the ginger and tomato paste, let cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock, let cook 1 minute.

If using a tagine, transfer Nesting Vegetables to the tagine and nest the chicken pieces on top. If using the same skillet, just nestle the chicken pieces on top. Nestle the Roasted Cauliflower between the pieces, stems down.

OVEN Reduce oven temperature to 350F/175C.

Cover the skillet or tagine, cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, with a spoon, stir the preserved lemon into the Nesting Vegetables as best you can, in the gaps between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the olives.

Return to the oven, still covered, for another 30 minutes.

SERVE Serve tableside with Stovetop White Rice or Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice.

ALANNA's TIPS Wondering how to wrangle a head of cauliflower into sweet little florets? Here's a quick photo tutorial. Or if you go for butternut squash, here's How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers, it's a life-saver! (Or at least a finger-saver!) If the squash is large, about 2-1/2 to 3 pounds, you'll get a pound of cubes from the "neck" alone. Many people like to leave the chicken skins on, so go ahead, if you like, but it will up the calories considerably. One great trick for "capturing the flavor" of the chicken skin without all the calories is to remove all the skins but to add just one skin to the skillet along with the oil when cooking the chicken. Great trick! Don't so many recipes call for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste? That's why I figured out How to Freeze Tomato Paste a tablespoon at a time. You do keep chicken stock in the freezer, right? Here's how I do it, No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock. Cauliflower florets nest easily between the chicken pieces and because the cauliflower isn't submerged in the braising liquid, it doesn't get soggy. But for all other vegetables, I think, I'd toss the roasted vegetables in with the Nesting Vegetables, then nest the chicken (or beef or whatever your choice ...) on top. Some preserved lemons are a little softer than others. If it mashes/pulverizes easily with the back of a spoon, great. If it doesn't, remove the seeds, then run the lemon through a mini food processor. For just a touch of that lovely sourness of preserved lemon, use only the skin and chop it finely (discard the flesh).
NUTRITION INFORMATION First, a note. Three pounds of chicken thighs yields about 2 pounds of meat (after removing the skins and discounting the bones) that itself would yield the standard four ounces uncooked meat per serving used in Kitchen Parade recipes. That said, because cauliflower shrinks while roasting, even a big head of cauliflower shrinks down to eight small-ish cauliflower servings, you may want to roast extra cauliflower and/or serve another vegetable on the side. A large butternut squash, however, doesn't shrink and easily feeds eight.

Per Serving, made with cauliflower: 288 Calories; 15g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 94mg Cholesterol; 427mg Sodium; 12g Carb; 4g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 26g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 7 & SmartPoints 8 & Freestyle 6 & myWW green 6 & blue 6 & purple 6 This recipe has been "Alanna-sized".
Adapted from New York Times.

More Sunday Recipes from the New York Times

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs Chicken with Shallots Rainbow Chicken
from Kitchen Parade
~ Mark Bittman's "Salted" Chopped Salad ~
~ Raw Butternut Squash Salad ~
~ Perfect Rhubarb Pie: Annie Dimock’s Straight-Up Rhubarb Pie ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ chicken recipes ~
~ cauliflower recipes ~
~ lemon recipes ~
~ winter squash ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2015, 2019 & 2021 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I am in the process of making this recipe (Spiced Chicken Tagine w/Roasted Cauliflower) and it’s the perfect antidote to this bitterly cold morning. Fortunately I’m a preserved lemon enthusiast and since I discovered them back in the 80’s my fridge has always had a jar of homemade ones. I did add a few things to your recipe, namely some artichoke hearts I had to use up by today and the olives I used were Whole Foods’ olives with fresh lemon and garlic. As soon as it comes out of the oven will cool it down and refrigerate until supper tonight and enjoy it! Thank you for posting this.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna