Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemons
I have always loved this flavorful lemony chicken dish. It is served in Morocco as one of the courses at state dinners, and Moroccan Jews in Israel also often serve it in their homes to break the fast of Yom Kippur. In Israel the saffron used in Morocco is often replaced with the less expensive turmeric. Although I prefer using preserved lemons rather than fresh ones, either is acceptable. Traditionally made in a clay tagine, I make mine in an ovenproof frying pan or a Dutch oven.
6 to 8 servings
Cooking Methodbaking, sauteeing
Total Timea day or more
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Textureherby, salty, savory, spiced, tart
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of saffron or turmeric
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- 1-2 preserved lemons, diced
Mix the mashed garlic with the salt and pepper, the paprika, saffron or turmeric, and half the parsley and cilantro. Rub onto the surface of the chicken and leave in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375°F and heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan or a Dutch oven. Add the chicken, skin side down, and sauté for 5 minutes, until the skin browns.
Turn the chicken skin side up and sprinkle the olives over it. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Add the lemon and continue to cook for 15 more minutes or until the chicken is done. Just before serving, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and cilantro.
2001 Joan Nathan