Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine

This is one of my favorite Moroccan dishes. Here, in Morocco, finding exact recipes is close to impossible so I will relate my estimation of the ingredients based on keen observation of my in-laws cooking, but adjust as needed to taste. Moroccan preserved lemons are wonderful and very easy to make at home; David Lebovitz has a good recipe only I don't add any other spices than salt.

Chicken, Olive and Preserved Lemon Tagine

1 chicken with skin cut in large pieces
About 3 small onions grated
About 4 garlic cloves crushed
About a handful of parsley and cilantro chopped fine
About 1 tsp of turmeric or colorant
About ½ tsp saffron
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
About 1 Tbsp of ground ginger
About 1 tsp of harissa (optional)
About ½ preserved lemon chopped fine + the peel from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, and cut into strips for serving
Olive oil
Large green olives

Add to a large pot the grated onion, crushed garlic, chopped cilantro, parsley, turmeric (or colorant), harissa, salt, ground black pepper, ground ginger, ½ preserved lemon (chopped) and chicken. Let cook for a few minutes turning around the chicken to spread spices all over. Add saffron dissolved in a little bit of boiling water. Mix well and let cook for awhile before adding a touch of olive oil. Let cook longer, about 20 minutes.

Add boiling water and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken from the pan leaving the sauce. Bake the chicken in preheated oven until golden.

While chicken is baking leave the sauce in the pan on the burner so that the sauce thickens.

Separately boil rinsed olives with some water to take away the salt then drain and set aside.

In a small pan boil the stripped peel of 1 preserved lemon with some sauce and set aside to garnish the dish.

After the chicken has become golden, arrange on a large platter. Spread drained olives over and around chicken. Using a ladle, spread sauce over and around chicken. Garnish with slices of preserved lemon.

Serve with bread.

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