A few weeks ago, I was so excited when Carrie gave me a jar of her preserved lemons. I was venturing into uncharted territory having never cooked with preserved lemons. I searched my cook books and the internet for interesting recipes. It seems preserved lemons are commonly used in South Asian and North African cuisine. After trying a few recipes, my family and I decided that this one, Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives, from Simply Recipes was hands down the winner! Not only was it delicious, but it was incredibly easy and, bonus - only uses 1 pan!
Preserved lemon is a key ingredient in most Moroccan cuisine, especially tagine dishes. You can buy preserved lemons at specialty food shops, or better yet, check out Carrie’s recipe in this blog. A tagine is a clay cooking pot with a conical lid. I used my All-Clad Stainless-Steel All-In-One pan (which presented beautifully), since I don’t own a tagine, or you can use a cast iron skillet, but make sure to cover tightly with foil. So, for the sake of this recipe, instructions will be for a pan.
This main dish has an interesting flavor combination from the warm earthy spices, briny green olives, tart slices of lemon and sweet raisins. The chicken was plump, moist and tender. A nice change up from our usual week-night chicken dinner fare. I hope you try this recipe, it truely is an intriguing dish that will awaken your taste buds!
Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- 8 pieces chicken bone-in, skin on, trimmed of fat (I prefer thighs and legs, you can use breasts, just cut them in half.)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium-large or 2 small preserved lemons
- 1 cup green olives, pitted and cut in half length-wise
- ½ cup raisins
- 3/4 cup water
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- In a large bowl, combine all the spices – paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper.
- Pat dry chicken and put in the bowl, making sure to coat all the pieces with the spice mixture. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (up to 4 hours).
- In a large heavy bottom pan heat olive oil on medium-high heat.
- Lightly sprinkle chicken with salt. The green olives and preserved lemons will provide a good amount of saltiness.
- Place chicken skin side down in pan and cook for 5 minutes, until skin is lightly brown. Do not over crowd pan. If necessary brown the chicken in 2 batches, returning all pieces skin side down back to pan before the next step.
- Lower the heat to medium-low, scatter the garlic and onions over the chicken. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Quarter preserved lemon. Rinsed in cold water, remove pulp and seeds. Cut rind into thin strips, then cut strips in half.
- Flip chicken pieces over. Add lemon slices, olives and raisins and 3/4 cup water.
- Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Mix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before serving.
Serve with couscous or basmati rice.