Spiced chicken and mandarin tagine, 68p.


This spiced chicken and mandarin tagine will serve us 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 Wednesday. 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! (I’ll do something with the half a can of mandarins tomorrow too…)

Ingredients (Serves four):

4 chicken legs, £1.88 (Sainsburys Basics)
1 large onion, 11p (loose, Sainsburys)
2 fat cloves of garlic, 5p (£1.90/10 bulbs avg 8 cloves each, Sainsburys)
400g chopped tomatoes, 35p (Happy Shopper)
1/2 can broken mandarin segments, 12p (23p/312g, Sainsburys Basics)
15ml white wine vinegar, 3p (£1.15/500ml, Sainsburys)
15ml lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml, Sainsburys)
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube, 2p (20p for 10, Sainsburys Basics)
1 tsp cumin, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsburys)
1 tsp turmeric, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainburys)
1 tsp paprika, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsburys)
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, the white wine vinegar and 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…

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

A Girl Called Jack is available to order here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Girl-Called-Jack-Monroe/dp/0718178947


    • I made it yesterday with chickpeas instead of chicken and served it with rice. It was really nice.

      For those on Slimming World the mandarin works out at 2.5 syns for the full meal, if you don’t use oil,so I rounded it up to 1 syn per serving.

  1. Sainsbury’s do a large pack of chicken pieces (the Basic range) in the freezer cabinet 2.5kg for £4.38 (which works out at just over 17p per 100g) which I buy on a regular basis. You usually get a mixture of thighs and legs.

    I know it’s a big initial outlay but once you have bought a bag it should last at least a month.

  2. Never thought of using tinned mandarin segments in a tagine – genius! I bet you could halve the amount of chicken and use an equal amount of chickpeas to bulk it out, or even make it totally veggie. I wonder if you could use tinned pineapple in a curry? My local takeaway does a ‘malaya’ which is a medium curry with pineapple.

  3. In my nearest Sainsburys Local store I always find packs of five chicken drumsticks for £1. I’m pretty sure that’s not a special offer and just the regular price as I’ve bought them a few times in the nine months I’ve lived here. They don’t have loads of meat but they’re pretty good in stews and give me 3 – 5 portions depending on what I’m making.

  4. You are doing a great job Jack, that must be said. A few thoughts though;

    I’m just hitting the ground running with your recipes and I’m a little worried how I’m going to find the many “fistfuls” of herbs needed on an almost daily basis, especially with winter approaching. Any ideas?

    Also, do you have any nutritional information to go with your recipes to ensure that our health is maintained from week to week, and that no deficiencies are being slowly collected?

    A weekly menu plan would also be useful, along with a shopping list.

    And finally, with the Geat British Bake off starting again tonight, how about copying some of the top bakes as the series progresses?

    All the best

    • She often says that a pinch from a good little tub of dried mixed herbs can substitute most of her fresh herbs 🙂 Most supermarkets have them for around 38p and they last ages!

    • I’d like to also mention that you could quite easily work out the nutritional info yourself using a website such as myfitnesspal or similar – I’m sure Jack is quite busy enough as it is, and it’s hardly her responsibility to do it for you. (additonally – I’m not sure, but it’s entirely possible that one of the free calorie counter websites also have a shopping list facility, so killing 2 birds with 1 stone)

  5. I love your blog Jack and all that you do, but I really would rather it all be vegetarian than promote cheap caged chicken.

    • Cruelty to chickens is awful but if shops sell it the poor will buy it. I don’t have a sainsbury near me I didn’t know you could get chicken that cheap! Personally it doesn’t appeal. We can only afford to buy one kind of meat a week so alternate it n spend a wee bit extra for better quality. What’s the point in eating something that isn’t? I can’t cook very well so most of our meals are pasta or oven chips and frozen veg! Glad I came across this blog. It’s what I needed to start us eating better 😀

  6. ASDA do 6 Quorn fillets for £1.89 – I don’t know how 1.5 fillets rates nutritionally to a chicken leg, but at one quarter of a penny more per portion in the above recipe I suspect it is healthier on all counts, and should make the vegetarians happy too! Maybe these options could be explored a little more for those not au fait with these products?

  7. This looks delicious and is something I’ll certainly be trying when I’m back home on my narrowboat in incredible edible Todmorden and can pick herbs for free. As a veggie I’ll be using chickpeas so hope it tastes as good.

  8. We had this tonight with an almost forgotten single chicken breast sitting in the freezer and rice – I didnt have all of the ingredients – used powder chilli instead of fresh, and no mint, but it was still lovely! Kept the left over sauce to use with something tomorrow. My 4 year old was especially pleased and devoured her whole plate, and had seconds! Thank you Jack x

  9. This looked so delicious that I had to cook it tonight. Thought my over enthusiasm may lead to disappointment but no – absolute spicy gorgeousness!! Don’t know how you do it Jack, continue to come up with fantastic but cheap recipes? BTW I haven’t a twitter acct but noticed on homepage that you’ve been getting some hassle/abuse. Ignore the inadequate bitter numpty’s, you can’t argue with bigots anyway as they have no rationality. You are evidently an intelligent, compassionate, gifted, independent woman and, in regard to the upbringing of your son, my wish would be for every child to have a parent as dedicated and loving as you.

  10. Cooked this up tonight for a group of friends, it went down a treat. I’m fairly certain it is that tastiest thing I’ve ever made. Cheers Jack!

  11. Just a thought – if you have an independent health food shop, try them for loose dried herbs and spices – ours charges around 30-40p for 35g (which is about a standard spice jar full).

  12. I cooked this for dinner tonight, but added some raisins I had spare too. It was delicious. Four chicken legs made enough for a big dinner and two days of lunches for work.

  13. Wow, Jack! This recipe is amazing! Absolutely delicious. My new fave of yours (after the kidney bean burgers!) 🙂

  14. Simply bloody gorgeous! Made it tonight and it passed my husband test! He is notoriously fussy! I have enough for the freezer one portion and will use leftover sauce with cous cous for lunch for a couple of days! Very many thanks, the first of many of your recipes I will try.

  15. I really want to make this but my boyfriend is allergic to ‘hot’ spices such as tumeric and paprica but is fine with mild spices such as cinnamon. Any suggestions for ways to give this a kick without his throat closing up?

      • Yes and no regarding the chilli. He loves a curry but a Korma is very hot to him. He finds a Tikka Masala is just too much. He can take very small amounts of spice and likes the flavour, just not the effect the heat has on him. Very frustrating. Cinnamon and garlic is a great idea. Thank you, love your blog, love you! Actually, when I found it my bf said I should have got in there first – the combo of left wing political rants and food is me all over!

      • Done it tonight – bit the bullet and included the spice by doubling the portions, halved the tumeric and paprika and included a tablespoon of mild sweet chilli sauce instead of fresh. Kept adding extra fruit juice and pepper then just kept checking it. It was fantastic and we all wolfed it down.

        (fyi 100g packets of Rajah spices for 69p and 79p, I can’t remember which way round. Found in the ethnic aisle of Sainsbury’s. £1.05 each for the little jars stocked with the herbs.)

    • Garlic, cinnamon, fresh coriander, fresh ginger…. Dont forget if you buy a chunk of fresh ginger with lots of “eyes”/bumps you can pot it up and have your very own ginger plant, grows quite tall though, and when you need some you just pull it out of the pot chop a bit off and repot!

  16. Great recipe, thanks! I made this for my dinner tonight and it was really yummy. As it was cooking it just smelled amazing and I couldn’t wait to taste it. To save money I don’t eat alot of meat, but what I do so that I can treat myself to some chicken every so often is buy a pack of chicken bits from Asda (It’s a value pack for about £1.80) and divide it into portions to keep in the freezer in tiny tubs then defrost them if I want to cook a dish with chicken. I live alone and only have me to feed, so I do the same with tinned tomato portioning it into wee tubs as a whole tin is too much for me. This recipe used 1 of my chicken tubs and 1 tomato tub and I have enough for tomorrow’s dinner too.

  17. This looks amazing, Jack! I’m trying it tomorrow night.
    Just wanted to say thanks for being you. I only found your blog today (I’m Australian) but I can already tell that you’re a incredibly strong, resourceful person, an amazing mum and a brilliant advocate for people that society has forgotten. Can’t wait to buy your book when it comes out.

  18. This is the first recipe I’ve tried from this site, and not only was it cheap, it was easy to make (important for an undomestic goddess like myself), and the result tasted great. I will definitely be trying other recipes from this site, and look forward to your book being published.

  19. I’m just finding my feet with the whole “cheap and healthy cooking” thing, through a mix of desire and necessity, and have tried quite a few of your recipes in the last couple of weeks. I have to say there are several real winners in there, but this one is just spectacularly good – I can see it becoming a staple for me. Thanks ever so much, and please keep up the great work 🙂

  20. I’d recommend getting the 3 for £10 chickens that are on offer at all the supermarkets. British with improved welfare standards. If you not squeamish about carving up a raw chicken its a great option.
    you get 6 drum sticks(6 portions), 6 wings (2 portions), 6 chicken thighs(6 portion). 6 beasts, plus there is additional muscle behind the breast muscle plus really the full breast exceeds the dietary require weight. so 6 diced chicken portions. and then 3 chicken carcasses which can be boiled for soup and stripped of the meat.

    so 26 portions for £10 (excluding the soup meat) so 38p per portion

    each chicken carcass can be used to make allot of soup, but even being modest on the amount, Lets say 4 portions per carcass, (normally it does me between 6-8,)
    adds on an additional 12 portions to the initial 24.
    so 38 portions for the £10 = 0.26p plus you save abit as you don’t need to use a stock cube in the soups.

    i buy this carve it all up and freeze it. i know its a huge initial investment and it takes up freezer space but in real terms you save. 4 drumsticks this way cost £1.52(excluding soup costing) saving 0.36p for this meal.

    plus because the cost doesn’t vary on size you can get the biggest weighed chickens possible and get extra meat.

    🙂 x

  21. I made this meal today without the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, cumin or chilli (just didn’t have any of them in!) and I used chicken breasts (from frozen) and 2 fresh oranges (they needed using up) and it tasted lovely – very warming and delicious, perfect for autumn evenings!
    Thanks Jack 😀

  22. I made this last night with chicken thighs instead of legs and threw in one red and one green pepper – delicious! The fruitiness of the mandarin really compliments the spices. I have half left which will go into the freezer for a easy meal next week.

    Love your recipes. xxx

  23. I tried this last night and it was brilliant. It’s healthy but doesn’t taste boringly virtuous because of the flavour of the stock and the juiciness of the chicken. Yum.

  24. Made this tonight and it was delicious! Had 3 children and 3 very hungry adults to feed so added a chopped Aubergine (it was in the fridge and needed to be used), another can of tomatoes and a slightly larger pack of chicken. Everyone loved it and I can’t wait to try another recipe.

  25. This recipe is super yummy. I had mine with brown rice and a pitta. I used chicken thighs instead, but they worked just as well.

  26. Yummmmmmm!!

    Made with chicken breast and tinned peaches ( thanks for the suggestion!) as that’s what we had in the cupboard.

    Delicious and will definitely be making again

  27. We made this yesterday and I popped it in the slow cooker once I had stirred everything through. Everybody loved it! I think this this will be a new family favourite. Looking forward to trying a different recipe tonight.

  28. Doing this for a second time tonight – had a crow of delight from the kids when i told them what was for tea. Six to feed so need loads of thighs but now i have them eating chick peas in stews etc, i think i might use 6 legs and a big tin of chick peas next time.

  29. tried this recipe yesterday and can’t believe how yummy it is without hundreds of fancy expensive ingredients! i added some toasted flaked almonds because I had some in the cupboard that needed using up and it was fantastic.

  30. Made this today for our supper and boy oh boy was it goooooood. Just the smell of it cooking had the husband coming in the kitchen drooling. This is one of our new favorite dinners. Thanks for all you do Jack.

  31. Me and my 2 year old daughter absolutely LOVE the vegetarian version of this… We have it with couscous- yum!
    My husband hates chickpeas so every time he works a night shift we have this as a treat! Thank you so much Jack for such a delicious recipe 😊

    • Made this again tonight and it went down just as well as ever. Just had my 3rd helping while in the midst of house mess bleh. Sooooo yummy, thanks so much! Yum yum yum! 😊

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