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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 2.92 / 5 (76 votes)

Prep time:
20 min, plus overnight marinating
Cook time:
1 hr

A fabulously fruity spicy tagine made with succulently tender poussin from Jean-Christophe Novelli makes a delicious main course


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2.

2. Place the cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to combine.

3. Place the spatchcocked poussin in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Cover with cling film and leave overnight in the fridge.

4. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp argan oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish. Add the onions and the remaining spice mix and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured.

5. Add the garlic for the final 3 minutes.

6. Heat a heavy griddle pan and when really hot place the poussin skin side down in the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.

7. Turn 90 degrees and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and place in the casserole dish.

8. Pour 150ml tomato juice into the griddle pan and stir well. Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole dish.

9. Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, stock and honey to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

10. Serve the tagine on a bed of spicy couscous in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs.


  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp paprika
  • 1.5 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 spatchcocked poussin, (split along the breastbone, opened and flattened out)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp argan oil
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 570 ml tomato juice
  • 2x400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 115 g dried apricots, halved
  • 55 g dates, halved
  • 55 g raisins or sultanas
  • 85 g blanched flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp strands saffron, soaked in cold water
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

To serve

Tips and suggestions

Spicy Couscous

Argan oil is Moroccan oil from the argan tree; you should be able to find it in specialist food shops.

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Latest Comment


Delicious. I agree with Alan's comment about too much sauce. I will halve the tomato content next time. Spicy but not too spicy.
Marilyn x

Marny Marny  Posted 10 Aug 2010 6:28 PM

fantastic. a real taste of marracesh

alanM89590 alanM89590  Posted 07 May 2010 11:31 AM

I made this dish and there was far too much sauce for 2 people. I maybe should have strained and discarded the juice from the 2 tins pf chopped tomatoes?

MargaretD1805 MargaretD1805  Posted 19 Oct 2008 12:29 PM