Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon

Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth: Season One: Peggy Markel's Morocco

Serves4
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:1 hr
Peggy Markel's Culinary Adventures, Morocco
November 2009
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  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 (3 -pound) chicken, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided
  • 2 preserved lemons, about 4 ounces each
  • 1/2 cup purple Moroccan or Greek olives
  • Lightly toast saffron in a dry small heavy skillet over moderately low heat, shaking skillet, until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer saffron to a small dish, let cool, then crumble with fingers.
  • With a mortar and pestle, mash chopped garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • In a 12-inch tagine or shallow, covered casserole, or 12-inch heavy skillet, toss chicken with oil, onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric , lime juice, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro,1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and reserved saffron. Arrange chicken pieces over onions in tagine.
  • Cut preserved lemons into quarters and scrape pulp from peel. Coarsely chop pulp and sprinkle over chicken. Cut lemon peel into 1/2-inch cubes and reserve.
  • Add 3/4 cup water to tagine and simmer, covered, 30 minutes, until chicken is almost cooked through. Check occasionally toward end of cooking time to be sure tagine is not dry, adding more water if necessary to keep meat from burning and sticking to pot. Add olives and simmer, covered, 10 minutes longer until chicken is cooked through. Just before serving, sprinkle with preserved lemon peel, remaining cilantro, and salt to taste.
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