Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives

A traditional Moroccan dish of chicken pieces braised with spices, garlic, onion, olives, and preserved lemon. Cooked in a tagine.
Ingredients

Main Course
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs of just chicken thighs and legs, the dark meat is more flavorful)
  • Salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • The rind from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, rind cut into thin strips (if you don't have preserved lemon, use whole thin slices of regular lemon)
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Special Equipment:
  • Blender or food processor
Directions
  • Marinate chicken in spice rub: Combine all the spices—paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper—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 one hour in the spices.
  • Brown chicken pieces in tagine or skillet: If you are using a clay tagine (if you have one, you must soak the bottom in water overnight before using), place it on a heat diffuser on the heating element to prevent the tagine from cracking, and place the olive oil in the tagine and heat it on medium heat. If you do not have a tagine, you can use a thick-bottomed, large skillet with a cover. Heat the olive oil in the skillet on medium high heat. In either case, sprinkle the chicken pieces very lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and preserved lemons are salty) and place skin side down in the tagine or skillet for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
  • Add garlic and onions, cover and cook: Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions over the chicken. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add lemon, olives, raisins, water, then cover and simmer: Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, raisins, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender.
  • Stir in parsley, cilantro: Mix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with couscous, rice, or rice pilaf.

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