Budget Spiced Chicken Tagine

By Jack Monroe •

Another in our series of recipes for delicious dishes which taste gourmet but are made at the fraction of the price. Jack shares a one pot tagine recipe. It only costs 71p a serving and tastes wonderful.



This spiced chicken and mandarin tagine will serve my little household for two nights in a row – the chicken legs were a rare treat in this week’s shopping but I’ll get two nights dinner from them, plus a stock base for a soup or risotto on Day Three with the cleaned-off bones.

I still rifled through the bottom shelf to find the cheapest pack, and thought I had it at £1.92, but then found one for £1.88 instead! (Prices vary according to supermarket, also delicious with chicken thighs and drumsticks.)

Budget Spiced Chicken Tagine


(Serves four):

4 chicken legs, £1.88 (Sainsbury's Basics)
1 large onion, 11p (loose, Sainsbury's)
2 fat cloves of garlic, 5p (£1.90/10 bulbs avg 8 cloves each, Sainsbury's)
400g chopped tomatoes, 35p (Happy Shopper)
1 can of broken mandarin segments, 23p (Sainsbury's Basics)
15ml lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml, Sainsbury's)
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube, 2p (20p for 10, Sainsbury's Basics)
1 tsp cumin, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsbury's)
1 tsp turmeric, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainbury's)
1 tsp paprika, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsbury's)
1 small red chilli – herb garden
Handful of fresh parsley – herb garden
Handful of fresh mint – herb garden



First, place the chicken legs skin side down in a large non stick pan (I used my ‘everything’ sauté pan that I’ve had for an age and literally do most of my dinners in…)

Bring the pan to a very gentle heat to seep some of the fat from the chicken, or add a splash of oil to speed things up.

Brown the chicken on both sides on a medium heat.


Peel and slice the onion and garlic, and finely slice the chilli, and toss into the pan with a teaspoon each of paprika, turmeric and cumin. Crumble in the stock cube.

Add the wet ingredients: chopped tomatoes, mandarins and juice, and the lemon juice, and stir well to combine.

Throw in the herbs, and bring the pan to the boil, then reduce to a medium simmer for around 20 minutes to cook the chicken through. Top up with half a cup of water if it starts to dry out.

Meanwhile, boil some plain rice to accompany.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and serve with the rice.

To make it much cheaper, replace the chicken with chick peas and start from the ‘onion and garlic’ stage.


For more delicious budget recipes visit Jack’s blog posts at Great British Chefs.  What are your favourite cheap and tasty one pot dishes?  Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.


The can of oranges in syrup will unfortunately raise the 'added sugar' levels... replace with mandarins in 'no added sugar fruit juice' or use two mandarins or oranges.. 1 juiced and 1 segmented. Will marginally increase cost but will reduce sugar. If fresh fruit segments are added towards the end of cooking the Vitamin C will not be lost.
2 April 2014
You are aware that not everyone has access to a garden or a balcony? Even assuming they're able to grow them in the kitchen or something, that's still money to buy the actual plants.

That's like saying potatoes are free, because people can grow them. Pretty shoddy, really.
2 September 2013
just stick some dried ones in, will add about 10p to it!
31 August 2013
However, part of the "skill" of budget cooking is learn how to do things differently and growing herbs in kitchens is easier than many people might think. Mint & parsley are easy herbs to grow and are part of your "arsenal" of budget cooking.
28 August 2013
This Dish may be cost effective and well priced if You Have a Herb Garden but Not Every1 has the benefit of being able to Grow there own Food, so can we please have a properly priced dish where You have to BUY ALL the Ingrediants from a Supermarket
28 August 2013

Jack Monroe

Jack Monroe is a 25 year old mum from Southend on Sea, author of 'much more than a cooking blog', A Girl Called Jack. She found accidental fame by blogging recipes created from handouts at her local food bank, and a £10 a week food shop. Winner of the Judges Choice award at the Fortnum And Mason Food& Drink Awards, her first cookbook A Girl Called Jack 100 Delicious Budget Recipes was published by Penguin in March 2014.


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