Sunday Dinner: Braised Moroccan Chicken w/ Olives

This is the arroz con pollo of the Middle East. This is an amazing dish, that can be made ahead and is also a great party dish. Makes a lot.

If you haven't purchased that jar of preserved lemons yet, what are you waiting for?
They keep forever and you just need a little bit to perfume dishes such as tagines and this Moroccan braised stew.

I omitted the fresh ginger in the recipe, didn't really need it, and of course I added golden raisins to the couscous to make it a bit sweeter.

As for green olives, the recipe doesn't really say what kind to use, but I imagine a picholine would be good. But since I had a jar of Manzanilla olives on hand (that I use in martinis), that is what I used, and they were perfect in this dish.

A note about saffron. I know Trader Joe's sells saffron from Greece, but trust me, it's crap. You get what you pay for.

There is a reason saffron is so pricey, because it's a delicacy. Saffron is from the crocus flower and you use it sparingly. It takes 150 little crocus flowers to make 1 gram of saffron (I am such a wealth of unnecessary information!).

I was lucky enough to receive a small packet from Iran from my friend who works for a Persian family who brings back spices from the Middle East. You just need a few threads for most dishes, and it lasts a long time as long as it is stored properly. You can buy a good tin of saffron for about $25.
Check out this 1 oz. tin of Spanish saffron for $109.!!

Braised Moroccan Chicken w/ Olives: (adapted from Food52)

4 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 lbs. chicken legs and thighs
Kosher salt & pepper
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup green olives
2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into strips
1/4 cup of golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro and raisins. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve chicken on a bed of couscous. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.



The JR said…
That makes a lot. It looks good. I like hearing all the info. you have Stacey!
Sonia said…
I love the saffron from Spain, though pricey, worth it! That stuff from Trader Joes is not anything close to the real deal.
Anonymous said…
I toast, in a dry skillet, the TJ's saffron, then pulzerize it w/the back of a teaspoon, add water, and it makes decent yellow arroz to top with black beans. Maybe I'm kidding myself; I'll give the more pricey stuff a try for compare/contrast. Please, WHERE to find preserved lemons? I think you posted once about your local ethnic store source, but besides that, any places like WF, or Fairway, where you can buy them?
Stacey Snacks said…
I put a link to amazon for cheapo preserved lemons on this post. Click on the highlighted word "preserved lemons". I once bought them at Sur la Table, but they were like $15. Middle Eastern markets sell them for next to nothing.
and I am sure Whole Foods must have them!
kat said…
I make a dish very similar to this & its one of our favorites.
kat said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
I love all the flavors in this dish - and those olives and preserved lemons. I usually bring back saffron when I go to Italy - much cheaper than in the U.S. I'll trade you some for those preserved lemons.
Joanne said…
I looovveee Moroccan food and really need to invest in some preserved lemons. Thanks for the link chica! This dish looks delicious. The perfect Sunday comfort food in my opinion!
Anonymous said…
Once the waters recede, I got to make my way to Paterson, lots of Middle Eastern shopping there, and next to nothing sounds good to me. Thank you!
Kathy Walker said…
I have made a similar is so delicious. I had forgotten about this dish...will have to get it back on the rotation!
Oui, Chef said…
This is totally my kind of dish, one that gets better with each re-heating and makes so much that left-overs are assured. Perfect! - S
I have to buy your brand of lemons, I picked some up at a middle eastern store here and didn't like the taste of them at all, the jar had a bunch of spices inside and it overpowered the flavor too much. Will try again!