moroccan lemon chicken: chicken no. 6

I made this not long ago for some out of town guests from Morocco days, and as I’ll be in Morocco once again in just a few hours (!) it seems fitting to post it now. The recipe is adapted from this recipe by Christine Benlafquih, whose About.com recipes are some of the best most authentic and easy to follow recipes on the web.

did i mention i made it this time using cornish hens? sure beats cutting up a big chicken. plus i get to use the dual.

Moroccan Lemon Chickenaat (that would be Arabezi for two chickens that are the subject of a sentence)

You’ll need:

2 Cornish hens (or, ok, 1 chicken cut into pieces)
1/4-1/3 cup veggie oil
2 yellow onions, sliced very thin
Parsley & cilantro
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of saffron threads
Large dollop of smen/ghee
1/2 cup to a cup of green olives (the plainer and tarter the better)
1 preserved lemon, quartered, with seeds removed

The most beautiful part of this recipe is that you don’t need a tagine – a large pot works just fine – and the chicken creates so much of its own sauce that you don’t need to add much for a delicious stew.

First, put everything except the olives and lemons into the pot and cover. Pour in the oil first so that the bottom of the pot is well coated with oil. Cook on medium high heat, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

dollops of smen & saffron & skinjibir

Cook until the meat is beginning to fall off the bones. You shouldn’t need to add water, but check as you stir that there is liquid accumulating in the bottom of the pot so that nothing sticks or burns.

Once the chicken is cooked, place it on a warmed platter and cover.

Keep cooking the sauce until it reduces just a bit into a thick sauce. Add the olives and lemon and cook, stirring, on medium low heat for several more minutes. Then return the chicken to the pot, turn several times to coat, and enjoy with flatbread.

et voila

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