If you’re tired of eating chicken the same old way, give this recipe a try!
Chicken….the barnyard pimp. The gospel bird. The country’s favorite poultry has had many names and has lived up to most of them. If you’re anything remotely like me, you look for numerous ways to enjoy foods that you like. I’ve fried enough chicken. Had enough dry chicken. It’s been grilled, stuffed and flattened. On this particular day, I wanted chicken but I wanted to prepare it differently. I’ve always been a fan of Mediterranean cuisine and their intriguingly, intense flavor combinations. Most people are familiar with couscous and probably heard the word tangine before. Couscous is a staple of North African countries. It’s typically cooked with dried fruit, nuts, vegetables and spices. In Moroccan cuisine, chicken is commonly used in tangines, or roasted.
Products indenginous to Morocco cooking are lemons, figs, olives, dates and almonds. Since it’s located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not as common or plenteous, so most meals are built around lamb and poultry. Those intense flavor combinations come from spices like cumin, coriander, paprika, saffron, ground red pepper and ginger. Other spice additions include harrisa, which is my absolute favorite condiment. It’s a paste made of garlic, chilies, olive oil and salt. Ras el hanout is another spice addition made of dozens to 100 spices!
This dish combines a lot of flavor from spices such as cinnamon, paprika, coriander, chili flakes, preserved lemons, olives and raisins. It may seem like there’s a lot going on in this dish, and it is! A lot of great things.
If I can give any advice or tips and tricks to cooking a successful, well balanced dish, is to season every layer and to always, always taste your food as you cook. What makes this dish so intoxicating, are the spices that gets an opportunity to really develop through braising and cooking low and slow in the oven. The hidden gems, are the preserved lemons and they are not hard to create. I always have a jar of preserved lemons in my refrigerator and use them in stews, rice dishes and in salad dressings and salsas. Preserved lemons will keep for a year in the refrigerator.
- 6 large Lemons
- 1/3 cup Coarse Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Moroccan Seasoning
- 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts 6-8 ounce portions
- 4 tbsp Olive oil plus more if needed
- 1/2 tsp Chili Flakes
- 1 large Yellow Onion chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick optional
- 2 cups Chicken Stock low sodium
- 1 cup White Wine Chardonnay
- 1 cup Green olives pitted
- 1/2 cup Golden raisins
- 3/4 cup Fresh parsley chopped
- 3/4 cup Fresh cilantro chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
*couscous or rice, for serving
For the preserved lemons: Blanch 3 lemons in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Remove from water and cut lemons into wedges and discard seeds. Toss with salt and pack into a jar.
Squeeze juice from the remaining 3 lemons and add enough juice to cover lemons. Close the lid of the jar. Let the lemons stand at room temperature, and shake once per day for 5 days. Add the oil and chill in the refrigerator.
Preserved lemons will keep for 1 year, chilled.
For the Moroccan Chicken: Season chicken liberally with Moroccan seasoning.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the heated pan and let it heat for about 1 minute. Place the chicken in the pot and sear both sides, about 5 minutes each. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
To the Dutch oven, add more oil if needed. Add the onions, cinnamon stick and chili flakes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the white wine to deglaze the pot and let reduce slightly. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Add the olives, raisins and around 4 preserved lemon wedges. Return the chicken to the pot, along with any accumulated juices, and cook for an additional 12-15 minutes. TASTE the cooking liquid and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro. Serve with couscous or rice and enjoy!!!!!!
For the preserved lemons, you will need a 3 cup jar with a tight-fitting lid.
If you prefer to make your own moroccan seasoning blend, you will need the following: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric and 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder