Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons
Preparation time: 45 min.
This popular recipe from Morocco is a favorite of mine. Tagine aka Tajine is the name for the cooking pot as well as for the dish. The dish is cooked over low heat so flavors can develop intensively. Preserved lemons give it a delicate flavor. You can buy them in Middle Eastern food stores and markets or through the internet. As a substitute one can use a combination of lemon juice and lemon zest.
You may want to serve the dish in a decorative Tagine.
- 8-12 chicken thighs and legs with bone - skin and any trace of fat removed
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 teasp ground ginger
- 2 teasp Turmeric
- 2 teasp ground cumin
- 1 teasp Sweet paprika
- Salt and pepper, freshly ground
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 125 gr (1/2 cup) loosely packed and finely chopped cilantro leaves or fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 500 ml (2 cups) warm chicken stock
- 375 gr (1 1/2 cups) large green and black olives cured in oil (like Kalamata olives), no canned olives!
- 2 preserved lemons, pulp removed and cut into slices or juice of 1 lemon plus the zest of 2 lemons (untreated)
Mix ginger, turmeric, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub the chicken thighs and legs with the spice mixture and set aside.
Choose a saucepan or tagine large enough to hold all chicken pieces in one layer, if possible. Warm the olive oil in the saucepan. Add the onion slices and garlic and sauté them for about 10-15 minutes, or until onions are golden. Arrange chicken pieces on top of onions. Add enough chicken stock to cover the parts and sprinkle coriander or parsley on top of it. Bring it to a rapid boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer it for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile put green and black olives in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring it to a rapid boil. Lower the heat and simmer olives for about 2 minutes. Drain olives well and set aside.
Add olives and preserved lemons or lemon zest with the lemon juice to the chicken onion mix. Simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
If you like the sauce a bit thicker, remove chicken from the saucepan and keep it warm. Continue reducing the sauce to your liking. If serving with couscous or rice it is better to leave sauce a bit more liquid.