Christmas with an Executive Chef

Matt Hart Executive head chef at Sanctuary Cove Resort
The Culinary Life
The Luxe Life

The season of festivity is here and with it comes the search for the perfect Christmas Day recipes.

In celebration of the season of giving, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort’s very own Executive Chef, Matt Hart, reveals his signature go-to dish, one he loves because “it’s not turkey, and it’s simple, delicious and perfect for a summertime Australian Christmas.”

The best part about this recipe is that even the kitchen novice can turn this into the dish that gets the fussiest of revellers carolling their praises.

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon & Olives


  • 1 small chicken (1–1.2 kg)
  • 2 tomatoes, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
  • 2 onions, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 150 g pitted green olives
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 250 ml (1 cup) water
  • 1 preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and cut into 6 or 8 wedges


  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • ½ small red chilli
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 bay leaves, torn in half
  • ½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in a little water
  • 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil


Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until finely chopped and thoroughly combined. Leave for 30 minutes before using (or you can make this up to seven days in advance and store it in the refrigerator).

Wash and dry the chicken. Cut out the backbone and trim off the wing tips and any excess fat. Chop into pieces. Place in a bowl and rub with half of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least two hours (Matt’s Insider Tip: leave it overnight for better flavour penetration).

Combine the chopped tomato and onion with a little more marinade and spread over the base of a tagine (this will prevent the chicken from burning on the base). Arrange the chicken pieces in the centre of the tagine. Coat the potato wedges in a little more marinade and arrange around the chicken. Top with the sliced onion, then the sliced tomato, and push the olives into the gaps. Combine the remaining marinade with the coriander and water and pour over the top. Decorate with preserved lemon wedges.

Cover the tagine with the lid and cook over a very low heat on the stove for 45 minutes. Don’t stir or lift the lid during cooking.

Take the tagine to the table and serve with couscous and harissa.


December 14, 2017