Algerian Tajine Zitoune ~ Chicken stew with green olives and carrots.
Vibrant in both colour and taste. A welcome addition to the Iftar ‘break fast’ table this Ramadan.
Zitoune / Zeitoun / Zaytoon
The Arabic word for Olives is زيتون, pronounced ‘zaytoon‘. In Algerian Darja it’s pronounced ‘zeetoon‘.
As the French language is still widely used here in Algeria, زيتون transliterated is spelled Zitoune. At least it is on the internet.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my husband strongly dislikes even seeing an olive, let alone eating one.
Yet, he has a fondness for Olive Oil and will always take some in his suitcase when he goes back to England.
The dislike of Olives he says stems from an unpleasant childhood experience.
This trait of disliking foods in a certain form but not in another has carried on into the next generation. Our son will eat dates but nothing made with date paste.
We all have our own little food quirks don’t we? Don’t be shy, share yours in the comments section below.
Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining
I only ever cook this traditional Algerian dish when my husband is away from home. It’s not only the look and taste, also he detests the smell of the olives whilst they are cooking.
He won’t be coming home as usual for this coming Ramadan. Therefore I will be gracing my Iftar table with Tajine Zitoune regularly ان شاء الله.
Variations of Tajine Zeetoon
This Green Olives Tajine/Tagine is not to be confused with the Moroccan version, that involves preserved lemons. Although you could add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking to brighten up the flavours.
Some add small button mushrooms aswell as carrots. Others add the spices saffron or turmeric and flavour it with the herb thyme.
I prefer to stay, as close as I can to the Tajine Zitoune I’ve tasted here at my in-laws home in Algeria.
Normally I and they would leave the skin on the chicken when cooking. To be a touch healthier I’ve removed it. Also I only use two teaspoons of oil.
Whilst it’s named a Tajine or Tagine, after the traditional earthenware conical cooking pot. Known for its low and slow cooking method.
I, as do many, use a regular cooking pot (or even a pressure cooker) which makes for faster cooking and almost the same delicious flavour.
If you do happen to cook this green olives stew in a Tajine: add minimal water, cook over low heat and check periodically to ensure the stew doesnt burn.
This is a stew of bitter, sweet, salty, fresh and meaty flavours. Complex layered flavouring and easy cooking = my kind of dish. What about you?
Should you try this, or any of my other recipes this Ramadan, tag #halalhomecooking or @halalhomecooking on Instagram.
Algerian Tajine Zitoune
Algerian chicken stew with green olives and carrots
- 1 cup Green Olives (pitted)
- 2 tsp Oil (Sunflower/Vegetable)
- 3-4 pieces Chicken (Halal, on the bone, skinless)
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 medium Red Onion (coarsely grated)
- 2 medium Garlic Cloves (minced or finely grated)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- ½ tsp Black Pepper (freshly ground)
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Ras el hanout (spice mix)
- 4 large Carrots (Cut on the diagnol into 1cm rounds )
- 1 small handful Fresh Parsley Leaves (finely chopped)
- Add green olives to a small saucepan, cover with boiled water. Allow to simmer gently for 10 mins. Drain then rinse the olives and set aside.
- In a 2 litre cooking pot with lid. Heat oil over medium heat, add chicken, salt followed by onion and garlic. Stir to combine, cover and allow the onion to soften and the chicken to be sealed on all sides – turn once or twice. This should take about 5 mins.
- Stir spices into the pot and let them cook out 1-2minutes.
- Add carrots and green olives to the pot and barely cover with boiled water. Bring up to a fast simmer, cover, reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cook for approx 40 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. At this stage taste the sauce, if needed add more salt.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley leaves.
The reason for simmering, draining and rinsing the olives beforehand, is to remove the large amount of salt the olives are cured in.
1 cup = 250ml
Recipe adapted from The Teal Tadjine Video Recipe