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Monday, December 26, 2011

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

A little bit of the exotic in this recipe. Preserved lemons are available in gourmet shops or you can make your own (it's quite easy but you have to plan a month ahead). They are used in Moroccan stews and they add an interesting lemon flavor - very strongly lemon but without bitterness or the extreme tartness of the juice. You only use the rind; the flesh is discarded.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives
(4-6 servings)

3-4 pounds Fryer Chicken
1⁄2 Lemon
Fine Sea Salt
1⁄2 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley
3 cloves Garlic
1⁄2 tbl Ground Ginger
1⁄2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 pinch Saffron
1 whole Preserved Lemon (rind only)
3 tbl Water
1⁄4 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium Onions, halved and very thinly sliced
1⁄2 tbl Sweet Paprika
1 tbl Unsalted Butter
1⁄2 cup Black Pitted Olives, such as kalamatas

Rub chicken inside and out with 1⁄2 lemon, including between skin and flesh of breast. Sprinkle salt inside and out, including between breast meat and skin. Set aside while you prepare the herb mix.

Mince the parsley and garlic. Chop 1⁄2 of the rind of the preserved lemon (discard the lemon's flesh). Mix together the parsley, garlic, preserved lemon, ground ginger, black pepper, and saffron in a dutch oven or soup pot big enough to hold the chicken. Add the water. Place in soup pot. Rub herb mix in and out, including under the breast skin. Add olive oil and heat over low heat. When the chicken starts to sizzle, add the sliced onions. Stir to distribute onions around chicken. Cover and cook over low heat. After 30 minutes, sprinkle the paprika around the chicken. Cover and continue cooking another hour. The onions should be very soft and the chicken thoroughly cooked.

Remove the chicken from the pot and keep warm. Add butter and olives. Stir and reduce if the sauce seems too thin. Cut rind of remaining 1⁄2 of preserved lemon into thin strips. Carve chicken and place on a platter. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with preserved lemon strips.

Serve. This is also excellent reheated.

Link to PDF of Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives