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Moroccan Chicken Recipe with Potatoes and Olives

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Moroccan Chicken Recipe with Potatoes and Olives

Moroccan Chicken with Potatoes, Olives and Preserved Lemon

Photo © Christine Benlafquih
I usually make this easy Moroccan recipe as my friend Souad taught me – in a heavy-bottomed pot with lots of sauce for scooping up with Moroccan bread. Directions are also included for preparation in a traditional tagine. Preserved lemon is optional; if using it, you may want to cut back a bit on the salt.

Cooking time is for conventional stovetop preparation. Double this time if cooking in a tagine.

Serves 4 to 6.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, skinned and cut into pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • -------------------------------------------------
  • 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) potatoes
  • 1/2 cup red or violet olives
  • 1 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds removed

Preparation:

Conventional Pot

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the chicken, onion, garlic, spices, parsley and oil. Cook, covered, over medium heat, without adding water, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is almost done. Stir occasionally to turn the pieces of chicken, and watch the heat so that the chicken doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Add them to the pot, along with the olives and preserved lemon, and enough water to almost cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is quite thick.

Traditional Tagine

Slice the onion instead of chopping it, and spread the onion slices on the bottom of a large tagine. Reduce the quantity of potatoes to 1 1/2 lbs. Peel the potatoes, thinly slice them, and layer them on top of the onions.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, spices, and parsley. Add the chicken to the tagine, flesh side down. Swirl 1/2 cup of water in the bowl to mix it with the spices, and add this water to the tagine. Pour the olive oil over all, and distribute the olives (and preserved lemon, if using) over the chicken and potatoes.

Cover the tagine and place it on a diffuser over medium-low to medium heat. Allow the tagine ample time to reach a simmer, and then reduce the heat to the lowest temperature necessary to maintain the simmer. Interrupt the cooking after 1 hour and 15 minutes to turn the chicken flesh side up. Continue cooking, covered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, until the chicken and potatoes are very tender. Let the tagine rest off the heat for about 15 minutes before serving.

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