Sunday, January 13, 2013

Easy Chicken with Preserved Lemon & Green Olives

and a couple of more suggestions to use preserved lemon following below...

Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives is a Moroccan dish, traditionally cooked in a tajine. You can also cook it in a casserole. I love the combination of flavors, and find this chicken with its refreshing and savory flavors absolutely irresistible. Recipes for chicken with preserved lemon and green olives abound, some more complex than others. This one is a tried and tested simple home-cooking version, perfect for "a gourmet meal on a working day".

No oil is used and chicken skin is discarded. It reheats well, and can be prepared ahead*. This recipe uses whole chicken, divided into parts. If you cook with the bones-in, it gives a deeper flavor to the dish.

all ingredients mixed and ready to simmer

Chicken With Preserved Lemon & Green Olives
(recipe for 3-4)
1 whole chicken, divided into thighs, drums, breasts (on the bone) and wings (which can also be left attached to the breast part).
2 medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 preserved lemon (depending on size)**
1 cup green olives (I use the ones we find here in the Middle East: pickled with lemon)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh koriander
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dried chili (to taste)
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 cup water (approximately)
  • tip: the best way to prepare ahead is to mix all ingredients, leave to marinate for a few hours, or even overnight. It really infuses all the flavors well.
  • Peel the onion, cut in half and slice into thin half moons. Peel the garlic and crush. Chop the herbs fine.
  • Put the chicken parts in the casserole and add all ingredients except the water. Toss gently to mix, add the water. Bring to a boil on stove top, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer slowly with closed lid for 45 minutes to an hour. 
  • I sometimes add small potato parts for the last half hour, to steam in the vapors of chicken, lemon, olives and herbs. And/or diced zucchini for the last five minutes. Serve it with fluffy couscous or quinoa (for added food pleasure: garnish with raisins plumped with rose water).

**when I make preserved lemon, I use a recipe from Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern Cooking: quarter whole lemons, but not all the way through. Liberally rub sea salt into the cuts and press the lemons in a jar you can close. Press well: the idea is that the juice from the lemons rises to the top. Generally, use a tablespoon sea salt for every lemon. Add more fresh lemon juice if there's not enough to fill up the jar. 

Preserved Lemon Gremolata 
The skin of 1 preserved lemon, chopped fine, mixed with finely chopped parsley (about 2 tbs) and a crushed and minced clove of garlic, bound together with olive oil. It will go fabulous with grilled lamb, for instance. 

Roasted Eggplant & Preserved Lemon Salad
Add thin strips of preserved lemon (1/2 lemon will do) to one cup of diced, roasted eggplant. Toss with olive oil, fresh koriander, chopped fine, a sprinkling of chili flakes, a handful of cherry tomatoes (cut in half) and season to taste.

A recipe for barley risotto with garden peas, okra and preserved lemon click here. Or try preserved lemon in a salsa with grilled swordfish and black lentils (recipe here)

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