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Chicken Tagine with Apricots, Butternut Squash and Spinach

4 Servings

1 hour 30 minutes active

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This spicy, fruity chicken stew is based on tagine, a classic North African dish that cooks meat, vegetables and fruit mostly in their natural juices. We love it because the richness of the dish comes from layers of flavor, not laborious browning. The word tagine refers to both the dish and the clay pot it typically is cooked in. The pot has a shallow pan and a conical top designed to collect condensation from the steam of the cooking food and return the moisture to it. We used a more commonly available Dutch oven, but kept to the spirit of the tagine, using a fragrant spice paste to season the chicken and act as a base for the stew. Apricots added sweetness (we preferred sulfured for their vibrant color) that was balanced by briny green olives. An equal amount of carrots can be substituted for the butternut squash. Serve the tagine with couscous, rice or warmed pita bread.




Don’t drain the diced tomatoes. Their liquid adds sweetness and acidity to the stew.

1 hour

30 minutes active



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David G.
August 20, 2023
Best Tagine I’ve Made
The recipe is excellent and well spiced. As suggested I substituted carrots for the squash, but added them when the recipe called for adding the chicken for extra cooking time. Used preserved lemon instead of zest (cutting salt) and added some of it in the main stew (more authentic flavor). My chicken was deboned and pretty flat, so I added it only for the final simmer. Worked perfectly. Finally I used a cast iron Tagine and it worked ok. There was very little room to add the greens, and I held back some broth until almost the end to avoid an overflow. Will certainly make again.
Karen Y.
April 24, 2023
Very flavorful. Great color.
Don F.
January 13, 2024
Great taste. Lots of prep
The flavors are amazing but set aside way more than 30 minutes to prep!! Closer to an hour with chopping and all the spices etc.
Shirley I.

Toast the pistachios earlier, so that when you chop them, they’re not too hot!

Catherine S.

Excellent and made way more than 4 servings. The spices when cooking and the cilantro/lime/pistachio balance beautifully

Scott S.

The picture shows a tagine though the recipe calls for a large Dutch oven. Can the recipe be followed exactly while swapping out the Dutch oven for a tagine? If not, what modifications are needed? If so, what is the minimum capacity required for the tagine?

Lynn C.

Hi Scott -

The art department took some creative license here with the photo since it doesn't technically reflect the recipe. We did not test this in a tagine for two reasons: 1.) most people don't own one; and 2.) all tagines are not created equal. Some are glazed, others are unglazed. Some are terra cotta, others are enameled cast iron. The volume of each is also all across the board. Since most Dutch ovens are similarly-sized and the different materials don't affect the cooking time and recipe results as much, we chose the Dutch oven (plus, most people have one). Feel free to try this in your tagine and let us know how it worked!

The Milk Street Team

Tricia S.

We enjoyed this. I had to make a few substitutions —I added dried figs to the few apricots I had, and I burned the pistachios so I toasted the squash seeds for some crunch. The figs were great, while the apricots got lost in the sauce. I kept all the spices and aromatics as written. I had chicken breast — if you sub it, add with or after the squash so it stays juicy. It’s a long ingredient list, and somehow I forgot to add the spinach at the end. No doubt it will be even better with it next time.

Elizabeth H.

The 30 minutes active time is not quite my experience-it's been 1 hour and 10 minutes and I just sat down. Though I do like buy whole butternut squash instead of cubed as it is fresher. Excited about the results though!