Moroccan Chicken Tajine (Serves 4)
Copyright 2010, Gail Arnold, All Rights Reserved
Photo: Melanie Acevedo
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large Spanish onion, grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons canola, grapeseed or olive oil (not a heavy olive oil)
1-2 preserved lemons, depending on size
8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
Stems from the parsley and cilantro, tied with twine
¼ teaspoon powdered saffron OR ¼ teaspoon powdered turmeric and 4 strands saffron
1 cup pitted green Moroccan or Greek olives
½ bunch Italian parsley, about ¼ cup chopped
½ bunch cilantro, about ¼ cup chopped
In a large bowl, mix the garlic, cumin, ginger, paprika, salt and pepper, ½ cup grated onion, and the oil.
Rinse the preserved lemons, and remove the pulp. RESERVE the lemon peel for later use.
Add the lemon pulp to the mixing bowl. Add the chicken. Mix everything together and place in a large plastic bag to marinate overnight. (Twenty-four hours really gives the chicken the best flavor.)
In a large Dutch oven or casserole, place the chicken and marinade; add the stems of the parsley and cilantro, the rest of the grated onion, the powdered saffron and 1½ cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down to a simmer and cook partially covered for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover, stir the chicken and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Keep sauce on stove and begin to reduce.
Slice the preserved lemon peel into thin slices and add to the sauce along with the olives, parsley and cilantro. Reduce until the sauce is just a little thick. This shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes at most.
Uncover the chicken and remove the skin from the chicken. (It doesn’t look pretty and who needs the extra fat.) Pour sauce over chicken and serve.