This is a great dish for a Friday night dinner with friends. Serve the chicken over whole-grain couscous, or cooked millet or quinoa for a gluten-free alternative. Accompany it with a green vegetable such as steamed beans or sautéed spinach.
Moroccan-Style Lemon Chicken with Olives
- Medium to large (31⁄2 to 5 quart) slow cooker
- 3 lbs skinless bone-in chicken thighs (12 thighs) 1.5 kg
- 2 onions, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped gingerroot 25 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled 2 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
- 1⁄2 tsp cracked black peppercorns 2 mL
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 25 mL
- 1 cup chicken stock 250 mL
- 1 preserved lemon, flesh discarded, thoroughly rinsed and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup pitted green olives 250 mL
- Cooked couscous, optional
- Sweet paprika, optional
- 1. Arrange chicken evenly over bottom of slow cooker stoneware.
- 2. In a food processor, combine onions, garlic and ginger and process until onions are almost puréed. Add saffron, cumin, peppercorns and lemon juice and process until blended. Add stock and pulse to mix.
- 3. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware. Mix well, ensuring all pieces of chicken are well coated with the mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 51⁄2 hours or on High for 21⁄2 hours. Add preserved lemon and olives. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork and flavors meld.
- 4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and solids to a deep platter. Cover and keep warm. Transfer sauce to a saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced by about one-third, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately or, if desired, for a great presentation, spread cooked couscous in a ring around the edge of a deep platter. Arrange the chicken in the center and pour the reduced sauce over it. Dust with paprika.
- If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 3 quart) slow cooker.
- Preserved lemons are a key ingredient in Moroccan cooking and are available in stores specializing in Middle Eastern foods. However, they are very easy to make - look for recipes in preserving books or Moroccan cookbooks. If all else fails, in his book The Food Substitutions Bible, David Joachim suggests cooking 1 sliced lemon, 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and a pinch of sugar in 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil over medium-low heat until the lemon is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Make Ahead
- Complete Step 2. Cover and refrigerate mixture for up to 2 days. When you're ready to cook, complete the recipe.
Judith Finlayson http://judithfinlayson.com/