The chicken used in this colorful Moroccan stew needs to marinate for at least 8 hours, so whip up the marinade this morning, if you can, and you can finish the dish when you get home tonight. Or prep everything this evening and invite a few friends over tomorrow for an easy, impromptu dinner party. Richly spiced, the tagine stays light and bright with tart citrus, briny green olives and fresh cilantro. For the most authentic presentation, serve it on a platter or individual plates atop a bed of couscous.
Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Olives
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
6 Tbs. olive oil
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 preserved lemons, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) chicken broth
1 1/2 cups (8 oz./250 g) cracked green olives
In a small bowl, soak the saffron in 2 Tbs. warm water for 10 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the onions, the 1⁄2 cup cilantro, 1⁄2 cup parsley and 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice. Add the cumin, ginger, turmeric and the saffron and its soaking liquid. Season with 1 tsp. salt and process to a pulpy puree. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the garlic and 3 Tbs. of the oil. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag and massage to coat the chicken with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
In a large, heavy pot, warm 1 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the lemon slices and sear until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil to the pot. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade, shaking off the excess and reserving the marinade. Working in batches, sear the chicken pieces, skin side down, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to another plate.
Pour the broth into the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pot bottom. Stir in the
reserved marinade and add the chicken and any juices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 40 minutes.
Simmer the olives in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add the olives, the reserved lemon and the remaining 2 Tbs. lemon juice to the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone
tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Garnish the stew with chopped cilantro and parsley and serve. Serves 4.
Find more simple one-dish dinners in our cookbook
One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.