Chef's Corner: Lemon Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon


Here's a simple North African dish that's delicious. While you can make preserved lemons yourself with time and patience, we used preserved lemon puree and whole preserved lemons, produced by Casablanca Market and available at Howie's. This is our adaptation of a recipe fromThe North African Kitchen by Fiona Dulop. Serves 4.

 

Lemon Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon

  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed or minced

  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves finely chopped

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • Salt, to taste

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • 3/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lbs, cut into pieces or a relatively equal amount of chicken thighs

  • 2 tsp pureed preserved lemon

  • 1 preserved lemon, cut into wedges

  • 6 oz. green, purple or kalamata olives, pitted

Mix together the onion, garlic, half the cilantro, half the parsley, the spices, salt, half the lemon juice and the olive oil. Dilute with just enough water to make a sauce. Rub some of the sauce onto the chicken pieces then place the chicken into a large cooking pan. Pour the rest of the sauce mixture around the meat. Cover and simmer until the chicken is done, turning occasionally and adding more water if needed. It will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Remember that chicken breast will cook faster than dark meat, which is why we prefer to use all chicken thighs. If you are using a mixture of white and dark meat, remove the white meat when it is done (and keep it warm) and continue to cook the dark meat until it is done.


Plate your chicken (we prefer to use warm plates). Add the remaining lemon juice, parsley and cilantro and the pureed lemon to the sauce and cook for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken then garnish with the preserved lemon wedges and olives. Serve immediately.

We like to serve it with instant couscous, prepared according to the package instructions, with the addition of some petite green peas (frozen are fine) and a little preserved lemon puree to taste. Alternatively, you might consider plain white rice or even bread to sop up the sauce. WINE SUGGESTION: Syrah or Rhone varietal

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