Potato Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Potato Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Rating:


2 lbs red potatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, grated coarsely on a box grater and squeezed dry
1/3 cup tomato, grated coarsely on a box grater (I've also subbed slightly smaller amounts of canned tomatoes, or tomato sauce when I'm in a pinch)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 bay leaf
1/4 fresh lemon
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 pinch saffron threads, crumbled
2 dozen purple or tan olives (pitted makes eating easier, but unpitted is fine too as long as you warn your dining companions)
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh scraped off and cut in thin slices
harissa (or other chili pastes) for serving (optional but recommended)


Peel the potatoes, and cut into thick slices (~1/2"). Place in a bowl of cold water, and set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat the olives oil over a medium heat. Add the grated onion, and cook until it starts to melt, ~3-5 minutes. Add the tomato, ginger, paprika, cumin and garlic, and cook, stirring, for an additional couple of minutes.

Drain the potatoes, and add to the pot. Add the sliced onion, bay leave, fresh lemon quarter, cilantro and parsley, and saffron. Stir, gently, to mix the ingredients. Add 1 1/2 cups hot water, a hefty pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until it's just high enough to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, ~40 minutes. Turn very gently once or twice during cooking, being careful not to crush the potatoes.

When potatoes are tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving dish. Discard the lemon and bay leaf. Add the olives to the remaining cooking liquid, and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce. Taste to correct seasonings, pour the sauce over the potatoes, and top with the preserved lemons. Serve with harissa.