On those rare days when I have only a little work to do at home but not the usual ridiculous saga of driving in and out all day, I like to prepare a meal that shows that I have had time to savour the experience.  It is still warm in Brisbane but there were lots of grey clouds and rain showers so it was just perfect for cooking a Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. The aroma has been wafting through my kitchen all day and I am sure my neighbours will make an excuse to visit around dinner time.

The combination of spices including a cinnamon stick, garlic and onion frying in the pot before adding the organic chicken pieces is enough to make you decide to have an early dinner. I first came across the meal in Paris at a wonderful restaurant called Mansouria. They also sell  take away “emporter” in the basement of Galleries La fayette. This is an amazing restaurant and the owner Fatema Hal has many cookbooks if you like Moroccan you must buy one http://www.amazon.com/ I think Moroccan food is quite sexy!  You must tell me if you think so too after you have tried this recipe.

RECIPE  FOR MOROCCAN CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMONS AND OLIVES

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

If you would like to take the easy way, buy a packet of Herbies Tagine  spices and add tumeric and ginger

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 organic chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces
! cup of chicken stock

Cut up vegetables of your choice. Eggplant, carrots. etc

I teaspoon of honey

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped

The peel from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, peel cut into thin strips
1 cup green olives, pitted
1/2 cup water1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

METHOD

1 Combine all the spices 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.

2 In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and lemons are salty), and brown, skin side down for five minutes , add the garlic and onions.  Then add teaspoon of honey and cover and let cook for 15 minutes. I also add vegetables now carrots, eggplant and zucchini cut into chunky pieces

3 Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, and 1/2 cup chicken stock. 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. Add more stock or water to prevent the dishes from becoming to dry  Simmer for a few hours until really tender.

4 Mix in fresh parsley and coriander right before serving. Serves 4 to 6. Serve with couscous.

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