Chicken Tangine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas

A Tagine is a stew from Morocco. It is also the name of the earthenware vessel it is made in. This is comfort food at it’s best—a Moroccan-spiced stew of Chicken—it is healthful and delicious.


  • 1 lb. (2 cups) dried chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), picked over and soaked overnight in cold water
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few cloves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • butter
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • minced parsley
  • about 4 lbs. pumpkin or winter squash, seeds, membranes, and skin removed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 large whole chicken legs (with thighs)
  • a 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted and roughly ground
  • 4 large onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne
  • Harissa Oil (see recipe below)


To cook the chickpeas (or garbanzo), drain them, put them in a saucepan, and cover with 3 quarts of water. Add the onion, cinnamon stick, cloves, a splash of olive oil, and a little salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently uncovered, for about an hour, or until the chickpeas are tender. Taste for salt and adjust. Leave the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid.

For the tagine, cut the pumpkin or winter squash into thick slices, carefully cut off the skin, and spread them on a flat surface. Season the slices with salt and pepper.

Season the chicken legs generously with salt and pepper. Massage them with the grated ginger. Sprinkle the cumin seeds over the meat. Set the chicken aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions in a combination of butter and olive oil until softened. Season with salt and continue cooking until the onions are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sliced garlic cloves. Crumble the saffron over the onions. Stir the onions and season to taste with red pepper.

Arrange the onions in a shallow earthenware casserole (or two if necessary), and then top with the pumpkin slices. Now, put the chicken legs over the pumpkin in one layer, skin side up. Add 1 to 4 cups of chickpea cooking liquid, barely covering the chicken.

Cover the casserole and bake for 20 minutes or so, until the liquid is bubbling briskly. Reduce the heat to 175 degrees and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken legs yield easily to a probing fork. Take the casserole from the oven and remove the chicken legs. Skim any surfacing fat with a shallow ladle.

Replace the chicken legs and return the dish to the oven, uncovered. Bake until the juices are bubbling and the chicken legs are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Warm the chickpeas in their cooking liquid, then drain and deposit them in a warmed bowl. Swirl in a little butter, the cinnamon, and some chopped parsley.

Serve each diner a chicken leg with some pumpkin and a good ladle of broth. Spoon some chickpeas over each serving. Pass a bowl of the spicy harissa oil for drizzling.

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: Instead of soaking the chickpeas overnight, you can use the quick-soak method, which is to cover them with cold water, bring them to a boil, stirring from time to time, turn off the heat, cover, and let soak for an hour. You can discard the soaking liquid and replace the liquid in the recipe with chicken stock.

Harissa Oil



  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbs. sweet paprika or mild ground red chile
  • 1 tsp. cayenne or other powdered hot red chile
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • A few drops of red wine vinegar


Toast all the seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. Grind the toasted seeds in a mortar or spice mill, then put them in a bowl.

Add the paprika, red pepper, garlic, and salt. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar. The harissa will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Makes about 1 cup.