Preserved lemons and green olives are among the most essential and common Moroccan ingredients used to make this succulent chicken dish, which had been cooked in a tagine. Tagines keep moisture and heat inside and have been used to slow cook a wide variety of foods for centuries.
Sue Ade/Bluffton Today
Recipe courtesy of "Tagine," by Ghillie Basan Photography by Martin Brigdale
Ryland Peters & Small, Hardcover, $12.95, 2007 (www.rylandpeters.com)
8-10 chicken thighs or 4 whole legs
1 tablespoon olive oil with a pat of butter
2 preserved lemons, cut into strips (recipe for preserved lemons follows)
6 ounces cracked green olives (or substitute large, pitted green olives)
1-2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
For the marinade
1 onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (1-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
Small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Pinch of saffron threads
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients or the marinade. Put the chicken thighs or legs in a shallow dish and coat them in the marinade, rubbing it into the skin. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Heat the olive oil with the butter in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and brown them in the oil. Pour over the marinade that is left in the dish and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the chicken pieces. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken from time to time. Add the preserved lemon, olives and half the thyme to the tagine. Cover again and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Check the seasoning and sprinkle the rest of the thyme over the top. Serve immediately from the tagine. Serves 4.
Kitchen Ade note: If you have not discovered the pleasures of cooking with a tagine, you are in for some fun. Le Creuset tagines can be purchased at cookware stores or through numerous culinary Web sites like www.amazon. com, www.chefscatalog.com and www.surlatable.com, among others.
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