Moroccan roasted chicken with olives and preserved lemons.
This is by far one of my favorite Moroccan dishes and one that is often served and dinner parties. The Moroccan way is to cook the chicken whole, serve 1 chicken for every 3 adults, topped with crispy matchstick fries and garnished with boiled quail eggs. Moroccan cuisine had me sold when I tried this amazing chicken. A neat trick I learned from my Mother in law and one I almost "always" use when making a stew is to never add the entire amount of water all at once. Start with 1 cup (or less) of water and cook the meat in it until the water reduces a bit and all the spices go into your meat. Another thing is to never "Ever" pour the water over the meat, this will wash away all the lovely spices from your meat. You can easily serve this chicken as a stew (skinless) and allow it to cook until the sauce is reduced and the meat begins to fall off the bone.
1 whole chicken jointed or cut in 4 pieces (skin on)
1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves (minced)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon tumaric powder
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (crumbled)
1 2 inch piece cinnamon stick
1 cup green olives
1/2 preserved lemon (seeded)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons oil (1 sunflower 2 oliveoil)
In a large heavy bottom pan heat your oil over medium heat until hot. Season your chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the hot oil skin side down, sear until golden brown. Turn the chicken pieces (I used 2 small chickens cut in half)over and heat until all sides are seared and golden brown.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Set aside. Reduce the heat to medium low and add your onions into the pot until they become translucent in color. Add the cilantro and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tumeric, ginger, chicken bouillon, saffron, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. Carefully add 1 cup of water and turn the heat back up to Medium high. Place the chicken skin side down back into the pot and cook for 5 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook for 3 minutes (a neat trick I learned from my Mother in law that makes all the spices go into your meat without having to marinate it).
Add approximately 3 cups of water (the water must only go halfway up the chicken) making sure to pour the water on the side of the pan and not over the chicken. Once the stew comes to the boil, reduce the heat. Cover your pan and cook the chicken, turning frequently, until tender (appromimately 45 minutes).
Remove the chicken from the sauce (making sure not to tear the skin) and place over a roasting pan (skin side up). At this point add the pre-soaked olives, preserved lemon and 1 tablespoon of butter into the sauce and turn the heat up medium low. Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and place in a small bowl, mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter. Set aside. Broil the chicken until golden and crispy basting occasionally with your 1/4 cup of reserved sauce and butter. Cook the sauce until it has reduced a bit and thickened (approximately 10 to 15 minutes) Serve the chicken immediately with the sauce and olives topped with crispy homemade fries along with crusty bread. You can also place the chicken back into the pan skin side up (never covered) and serve at a later time).