Ever want something out of the ordinary? Me too. For me that would be something like Moroccan chicken. I love this type of cooking and I don’t make it often enough. It certainly deserves to be in everyone’s recipe rotation list. (Don’t have one of those? It’s perfect for those nights you can’t think of anything to cook.)
I won’t lie and tell you that this isn’t complicated to make because it is. There’s a lot of things that go into this recipe but none of it is difficult. It just takes the time to measure out all the spices, toast the almonds, cut the preserved lemon, coat the chicken — but it’s oh so worth it when you put the first forkful in your mouth. It’s mildly spicy, a bit lemony, a bit tart, a bit sweet and very very tasty.
Once you’ve got all the recipe ingredients ready, the actual cooking is fairly fast. Cut up chicken pieces don’t take long to cook and if you cook them too long you’ve got tough chicken, so let’s go.
Measure the spices into a bowl and then toss in the cut chicken pieces to coat and then let them sit for 2 to 6 hours before cooking. You could prepare the chicken before work in the morning and then it’s ready to cook when you get home.
You can use a tagine to cook this in but I prefer my saute pan because I like my chicken browned. Once you have cooked the onions and the garlic slices, you add the chicken and brown it and then add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 20 minutes.
As you can see there are a lot of preserved lemons. The recipe I was getting my inspiration from recommended a whole lemon. I wouldn’t use that much again. Just a hint of lemon would be better I think. When finished it looks like this!
Here’s the recipe!
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon tumeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1½ lbs boneless chicken meat - thighs are great in this recipe
- Salt to taste (lemons will be salty so go lightly)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 onion, chopped
- The peel from ½ preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, peel cut into thin strips
- 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup raisins or sultanas
- ¼ cup dates chopped
- ¼ cup dried apricots chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro / coriander
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup almonds sliced and toasted (350 F for 4 minutes)
- Combine all the spices in a large bowl. Pat dry the chicken pieces and put in the bowl, coat well with the spice mixture. Let the chicken stand for 2 to 6 hours in the spices.
- In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle very lightly with salt and brown for only five minutes.
- Remove the chicken and cover.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the garlic and onions and cook til translucent about 5 minutes.
- Return chicken to pan, and add lemon slices, olives, raisins, dates and apricots.
- Add chicken stock
- Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender. (depends upon whether you're using chicken with bone in)
- Mix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before turning off the heat.
- Serve with couscous or rice and top with toasted almonds just before serving
- Serve with couscous, rice, or rice pilaf.