A Tagine of Baby Chickens with Saffron, Green Olives and Preserved Lemons served with Couscous

Tino-the-claw-Tripepi has his ways. He is an impressive 14years old now and if he were to be kissed by a fairy tale princess he would *POEF *, turn into that grumpy old man, the late Walther Matthau. He is basically full of ‘kitty-kak’. I think that he has feline Alzheimer’s, for one moment he is cuddling up and literally drooling over some attention and the next he gives you a scowling meauuwthful, flicks his tail like Zorro’s whip and turns his back on you.


My daily routine dictates that I am up at between 4.30 – 5am, a quick change into my walking klobber, and then I start planning my blog posts. Out comes my notebook in which I record the B-plan for the week, the names of the recipes that I intend posting together with the corresponding numbers of the photos I am going to post.   Due to the events of last year I am completely anal about backing up and recording my photos etc. so this book is NEVER removed from my desk. If my family need some paper and even look sideways at it – I start foaming at the mouth like a woman possessed.


Now – what Tino wants Tino gets OR ELSE! I was rushing to get out of the door at 5.20am last Wednesday and as the front door slammed behind me I realised that I hadn’t let multiple personality stricken Sir Grumpy out, and I just didn’t have the time to go back inside deactivate and activate the blinking alarm hunna hunna ………. Sooo off I sped like a bat out of hell to go and fetch my girlfriend Kami for our morning walk. BIG MISTAKE, for this is what I got back to ……..







Ti do un’asberla che ti faccio nuovo Tino!



Needless to say – I ditched the recipe, the cat and a blog post on that day!!!   I have performed nothing less than ‘plastic surgery’ on my sacred note book ……. de-clawed my cat (in my head) and am back on track to post this tomorrow.



This is an Italo/ Moroccan style tagine that was one of those impromptu success stories. The lemon/garlic and oregano balanced off the saffron beautifully. There is one thing to remember when cooking with saffron, and that is that less is more. I love the flavour but adding too much saffron just ruins a dish as it overpowers all of the other flavours.



Tagine of Baby Chickens with Saffron, Green Olives and Preserved Lemons












2 Baby spatch cocked baby chickens * see below how to do this yourself

1 onion roughly chopped

2 lemons – the juice of 2 lemons and the zest of 1 lemon

1 heaped tsp of periperi or cayenne pepper

9 queen green olives – these are the extra large plump green olives

4 bay leaves

1tbs of finely chopped garlic

1Tbs cracked black pepper

2tbs honey

1 pinch of Saffron soaked in hot water

1Tbs Oregano

2Tbs Olive Oil

2tsp salt

1 jar of Verlaque Preserved Lemons (optional)


Place all of the above into a Ziploc bag and leave to marinade for a few hours.

 This is ideal to prepare before you go to work, by the time that you get home the

 flavours will have infused right into the flesh of the chicken which is just what you want.





How to Spatch Cock a Baby Chicken


Firstly trim off all excess skin


A good pair of kitchen shears would be great for this job.

 I just used a large pair of scissors. I don’t go in for too many gadgets.


Place the chicken breast side down.


Cut down either side of the backbone right to the Pope’s Nose and remove the back bone.

I added these to the bag of marinade and chicken – why throw all that flavour away.




Using a sharp knife make an incision either side of the breast bone in a V-shape



Press the bone down and remove

Flip the chicken over and press down with the heel of your hand and flatten the chicken.



Soak your tagine in warm water for 20minutes.



In a frying pan brown the chicken on both sides and place breast side down

into your tagine which will ensure that the flesh cooks submerged in the marinade and

retains all it’s juiciness.



Now add the marinade to the pan and fry the onions and heat the marinade up nicely and pour it over the chicken.



Add one jar of Verlaque (available at Woolies) Preserved lemons with the liquid.



Place in a pre-heated oven 160d for 50 minutes.



From my pictures you will notice that I served the baby chickens with hubby’s

favourite (click on this link for the recipe) Portuguese Style potatoes .

This was a special request by Trickyricky.



I buy my baby chickens from The Shed (theshed@satweb.co.za) – they are free range,

organic and hormone free. Because they live a natural life style they are quite plump

and average around 750g (R48.00 per kilo) so I can only manage half a bird.

This meant that I had half a chicken left over and a whole tagine/ bowl of wonderful lemony/ chicken

drenched sauce.






Left-overs go straight down Max’s gob when he arrives here in the morning.

The juices were soaked up by some couscous and the whole lot disappeared into Max in a flash.

He did leave me some couscous!!




As always

Buon Appetito








Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Scorpio, RED WINE, Dalmatians, VINO, my men, Mamma Estraordinaria, massive pots of pasta, la famiglia, candle light, designer Handbags, Adult Survivor, Red Lipstick, writing, drumming, painting, red RED and Pasta .... lots of it!