Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine

What Is a Tagine? A tagine, sometimes spelled “tajine,” is a traditional Moroccan cooking vessel made of ceramic or unglazed clay with a round base and low sides. A cone-shaped cover sits on the base during cooking

Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine

The flavours of North Africa and, more specifically, Morocco are perennial favourites. There’s something about the juxtaposition of savoury and sweet, so endemic in that cuisine, that’s simply fascinating. It’s certainly a contrast that you’ll find, and hopefully enjoy, in this simple recipe for chicken and butternut squash tagine.

Of all the dried fruit used in tagines, dried figs are perhaps my favourite. Not only are figs incredibly sweet, they are rich and decadent in equal measure. It is these characteristics that enable dried figs to work in harmony with ingredients like chicken and cumin to create the impressive depth of flavour that this casserole has.

Traditionally speaking, a chicken and butternut squash tagine – or indeed any tagine – should be cooked in an earthenware pot of the same name. Practically speaking, however, that’s not always possible. For an easy life it’s usually best to force them apart. In fact, preparing your ingredients in this way makes for particularly succulent chicken and a rich, thick sauce.

Though this Moroccan-inspired casserole is certainly a quick dinner, ready in under an hour, it is one that will impress. Full of aromatic spices and easy to prepare in bulk, my chicken and butternut squash tagine is the perfect meal for gatherings of family and friends alike.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine

Serves 4


  • 4 chicken legs

  • 1 butternut squash, roughly chopped

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp salted butter

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 8 dried figs, roughly chopped

  • a large handful of pitted green olives

  • 300ml chicken stock

  • Salt, to taste


  1. Sprinkle your squash with a little oil and bake in the oven at 180C until browning at the edges.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Fry the chicken, skin down, until golden brown. Cook on the other side for 2 minutes and set aside.

  3. Add the butter to the same pan, followed by the onions and garlic. Saute on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the cumin, paprika, cinnamon stick and ground ginger

  4. After a further 2 minutes tip in the figs, olives and chicken stock. Cook for 2-3 minutes and incorporate the butternut squash and chicken.

  5. Pop a lid over the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately alongside a couscous salad.

Recipe for Chicken and Butternut Squash TagineChicken and Butternut Squash Tagine Recipe

Cost: I don’t often feature meat in my recipes, but when I do it’s always frugal. The chicken legs featured here set me back a mere £1 a piece, which I think is pretty good! Indeed, the entire chicken and butternut squash tagine, enough for four, can be made for as little as £6.