(Moroccan chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemons)
4 to 6 servings
- Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
- Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
- Onion, finely chopped or grated -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 3-4 cloves
- Paprika -- 1 tablespoon
- Ground ginger -- 2 teaspoons
- Ground cumin -- 1 teaspoon
- Water or stock -- 3-4 cups
- Parsley, chopped --1/2 bunch
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Saffron -- big pinch
- Preserved lemon, flesh removed, peel julienned (see variations) -- 1
- Green olives -- 1 cup
- Lemon juice -- 1/4 to 1/3 cup
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Brown the chicken pieces on all sides and remove to a plate. Add the onions to remaining oil and sauté until wilted and translucent. Stir in the garlic, paprika, ginger, and cumin and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the water or stock, parsley, salt, pepper and saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in the preserved lemons, olives and lemon juice and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve with couscous, rice or crusty bread.
Djej Emshmel Variations
- If preserved lemons aren't available, use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest from 1-2 lemons instead. Avoid the white pith as it is bitter.
- Substitute 1 tablespoon fresh, minced ginger for the ground ginger if you like.
- If you don't have saffron, substitute 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Add it at the same time as the ginger and cumin.
- Be careful not to oversalt. There is a fair amount of salt in the preserved lemons and olives.
- Sometimes the chicken liver is simmered with the dish, mashed or pureed with a little of the sauce and added back to the dish. This thickens the sauce somewhat.
- Add a couple diced potatoes if you like.