If you make up a batch of Moroccan-style Preserved Lemons (see last post)
now, you'll be making this fragrant dish many times next year. A great dinner party dish, Moroccan Chicken with Lemons and Olives
fills the house with the some of my favorite aromas: Cinnamon, cumin, ginger, paprika, garlic, and onions. But most of all lemons.
All you need to make a stash of Moroccan preserved lemons is Kosher salt, lemons, and a little bit of time. If you don't have time (they take about 3 weeks to preserve), see the Sources at the end of this post.
Moroccan chicken is a very inviting supper dish for a cold winter night with friends.
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives has a lot going on, with currants, olives, warm spices, and the tangy, intense flavor of the preserved lemon. It is traditional to serve with couscous, but it also goes well with polenta, rice pilaf, or farro.
Ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon are used to season the chicken pieces.
The chicken pieces are coated with the spice mixture, then left to absorb the flavors for about an hour. Then the chicken is sauteéd on the stove, and simmers in the rest of the ingredients for another hour. It's even better if made ahead of time, which makes it my favorite dinner party dish.
When I make this for my family it is a one-dish meal, served with a small pitcher of pan juices on the side. No matter how much I make, we always seem to fight over the pan juices.
Moroccan chicken with lemons and olives
This recipe is from Mary Woollen's French cooking class. Thanks Mary! If you are expecting more than 4-6 people for dinner, buy a few more chicken pieces and throw them in the pot.
- 4 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cut up bone-in chicken, skin on, 3-4 lbs. cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs. of just chicken legs and thighs on the bone)
- salt, to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- peel from one preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, peel cut into thin strips
- 1 cup green olives, pitted (they are better if you pit them yourself), black olives will also work
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
The spice mixture forms a nice crust on the chicken pieces, then melts into the sauce.
- Combine all the spices in a large bowl. Pat the chicken pieces dry, and coat each piece with the spice mixture. Let stand for about 1 hour.
- In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the chicken pieces skin side down, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Brown the chicken over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Once the chicken pieces are nicely browned, throw the onions and garlic into the pot, lower the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn the chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, currants or raisins, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Transfer the chicken to a platter, stir the sauce and serve it alongside. Top with chopped parsley and cilantro.
Preserved Lemons: Sources