Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives
Feeling confounded about what to pair with this dish, I turned to one of my favorite wine writers, Fiona Beckett and her excellent website, Matching Food & Wine. Her suggestion proved to be spot-on, as she recommends not a dry white wine, which she writes “tends to be too similar, too lemony,” because of the dish’s bitter components, the lemons and olives. Instead she advises a red, specifically an aged Rioja. Her recommendation was absolutely a perfect match. Bravo, Fiona, once again I’ve learned from a master.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 Whole organic chicken legs or 6 thighs with skin on
- 1 Large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 Teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 Teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 Teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 Teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 Teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 Large cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 Cup organic or homemade chicken stock
- 1/2 Jar of preserved lemons (I like Trader Joe's, which are pre-sliced)
- 1/2 Cup green olives, cracked
- Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 Cup chopped cilantro and parsley for garnish
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°. In a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil until it shimmers. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Brown 3-4 minutes each side, taking care not to flip the chicken before it releases from the pan. (I have found that once it's sufficiently browned, skin-side-down, it won't stick. Turn it too quickly and the skin will tear.) Transfer the chicken to a plate, then add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the spices and chicken stock. Nestle the chicken into the onion and stock, arrange the olives and the lemon slices around the chicken. Cover the dish with a lid or use aluminum foil to cover the skillet.
- Place the chicken on the center rack and cook until liquid reduced, around 40-45 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice and serve immediately.