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Moroccan chicken with saffron and preserved lemon recipe

Moroccan chicken with saffron and preserved lemon recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Popular chicken
  • Lemon chicken

Chicken thighs are marinated in olive oil, garlic, turmeric and cumin, then braised with saffron, preserved lemon, olives and artichokes in this fragrant Moroccan dish. Serve with couscous, quinoa or rice.

14 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 60ml olive oil, or to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 large chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500ml water, or as needed
  • 16 saffron threads
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, pulp discarded and thinly sliced
  • 30g olives, or to taste (optional)
  • 2 artichokes from a jar, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:45min ›Extra time:4hr marinating › Ready in:5hr

  1. Whisk 60ml olive oil, garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, salt and pepper together in a bowl and pour into a resealable food bag or container. Add chicken thighs, coat with the paste and seal bag or container. Marinate in the fridge, 4 hours to overnight.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade; discarde marinade. Add chicken thighs skin-side down to pot and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken thighs and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes more.
  3. Lower heat to medium and add water to cover chicken halfway, cover pot, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle saffron threads onto chicken and top with preserved lemon slices. Replace lid and cook until chicken is no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 5 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.
  4. Continue simmering liquid in pot until thickened to sauce consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken; top with olives, artichokes and parsley.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(16)

Reviews in English (13)

Definitely a 5 star recipe. Family thought this was great. I different have any saffron threads so just put a sprinkle of turmeric on instead. I didn't have preserved lemon so just used fresh instead.-14 Nov 2017

by Sue A

Absolutely delicious. I would recommend this to everyone who wants a relaxing meal. Prepare everything the night before, put it together the following morning, in the pot, cook long and slow, sit back and when you're ready, enjoy. Worth every star awarded.-08 May 2016

by Buckwheat Queen

This is a fragrant dish that I cooked in my tagine at 190°C. I didn't have any artichokes so I used bell peppers. The olives are a great addition. Thank you for the recipe.-14 Mar 2016

    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 medium onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine
    • 16 pitted green olives, halved
    • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
    1. Pat chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm, covered.
    2. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and reduce heat to moderate. Cook onions and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add turmeric and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Scrape pulp from preserved lemon, reserving for another use. Cut rind into thin strips and add to onions with broth, wine, and olives.
    4. Return chicken, with any juices accumulated on plate, to skillet. Braise, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

    Moroccan Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon, Olives and Onion Sauce

    A m’qualli style roast chicken with preserved lemon and olives. Plan ahead because this wonderful dish requires overnight marinating for best flavor.

    Moroccan roasted chicken with preserved lemon and olives. Photo: picturepartners |

    This post may contain Amazon or other affiliate links that allow us to earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our Disclosure Policy for more info.

    Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives is a classic Moroccan dish that can be prepared a number of ways. The version here with onion sauce is often served for company dinners and for special occasions, when it might be one of two or more entrees in a multi-course meal.

    To make the dish, chicken is marinated overnight and then slow-roasted the next day. Meanwhile, a rich m&rsquoqualli-style onion sauce (daghmira) flavored with ginger and saffron cooks separately. Olives and preserved lemons add tangy, salty flavor as well as complementary color for a beautiful presentation.

    Although my family calls the dish djaj m&rsquohammar, we&rsquore using that term in a general sense to refer simply to &ldquoroasted chicken.&rdquo In the most traditional sense, a m&rsquohammar of chicken is a specific dish which involves two stages of cooking and includes paprika in the seasoning.

    Roasted chicken with preserved lemons and olives is not difficult to make, but the dish does require time for both marinating and proper reduction of the daghmira. The onions must be reduced until they form a paste-like mass which separates from the oil. The onion sauce can be prepared the day before and finished shortly before serving. This makes it a perfect do-ahead dish when. You may also want to clean and brine the chicken the Moroccan way before moving on to marinating it.

    Although the recipe below indicates four servings, Moroccan tradition is to allow one chicken for every three people. Simply multiply the recipe according to your own needs. Custom is to dip into the sauce with pieces of Moroccan bread and enjoy the chicken by hand from a communal plate.

    Roast the chicken.

    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. The sauce is ready. When is thick and have a nice golden color – Rose – chicken. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of harissa chili paste, and half a teaspoon of paprika. Mix well this will give the chicken a nice golden color, spread the mixture all over the chicken on both sides. Then wrote the chicken hundred and eighty degrees for 10 minutes, or until Chicken With Lemon And Olives is golden brown.

    When the chicken is cooked. Remove it straight away from the oven. Do not leave it in the oven even if the oven is off this will make your chicken too dry. And as you will see the butter mixture gives the chicken a very nice golden color. Don’t forget to remove the string from the chicken before serving to serve the Chicken With Lemon And Olives on a plate with a nice onion sauce all around the olives. You can also add some chips if you like with nice homemade bread.

    Et voilà. We have a superb juicy and golden rose Chicken With Lemon And Olives in a Moroccan onion sauce. Believe me, you have to try this Moroccan roast chicken and you won’t be disappointed for sure now it’s your turn to make it.

    Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Preserved Lemons

    This Moroccan chicken uses preserved lemons and has all the sunny flavours you’d expect from North African cuisine.

    • Prep Time: 15 mins
    • Cook Time: 1 hour
    • Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
    • Yield: 5 to 6 1 x
    • Category: Chicken & Poultry
    • Cuisine: Moroccan



    • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 2 tsp salt (omit if using preserved lemons)
    • 2 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp coriander
    • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    • 2 lemons, zest and juice of (or the rinsed, slivered rind of 2 preserved lemons, plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
    • 1 can chickpeas, drained
    • 1 cup pitted green olives, manzanilla or picholine are preferred
    • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
    • 2 lemons, quartered


    • 2 cups couscous
    • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup olive oil



    1. Season the chicken all over with salt, if using, and pepper.
    2. Heat olive oil in large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken well all over, about 3-5 minutes per side and set aside.
    3. Turn heat down to medium, add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili flakes, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and sauté, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant , about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, lemon zest (or preserved lemon rind) and juice, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
    4. Return chicken to pot, add the chickpeas and olives, and stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced somewhat and chicken is done, about another 20 minutes.
    5. Stir in fresh mint and lemon quarters just before serving.


    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Place couscous in an oven-proof baking dish.
    3. Heat the chicken broth, butter and saffron until the butter is melted and the broth is hot. Pour the mixture over the couscous and stir well. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and let sit, covered, at room temperature for another 5 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over couscous.
    4. Serve chicken over couscous.
    5. Garnish with whole sprigs of fresh mint and grilled lemon halves, if you like.


    This dish can be made the day before and reheated.

    Excerpt published with permission from Whitewater Cooks with Friends
    by Shelley Adams. ©2011. Published by Alicon Holdings.

    Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

    This Moroccan chicken dish is so flavorful and easy enough to make on weekday night! The chicken is covered in a mix of moroccan spices and quickly braised on a bed of onions, olives and preserved lemons. Traditionally, this dish is made in a tagine, however this pot is not typical in American kitchens. I do not have one, so I used a cast iron skillet, which works perfectly. Serve this over a bed of rice or quinoa to complete the meal!

    Real preserved lemons take about a month to make and they aren’t always easy to find at a regular grocery store, but it only takes 3 hours to make quick preserved lemons. Check out my roasted carrot salad recipe video to watch how to make them or check out the recipe on my website.

    If you make this dish, tag @LagomEats and use #LagomEats. I would love to see your drool-worthy dinners!

    Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tajine Recipe '> Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tajine Recipe

    Lemon Chicken Tajine is a Moroccan Cuisine classic. Lemons and olives are two major trademarks of Moroccan cooking. The key ingredient in our Lemon Chicken is the preserved lemon (included in this recipe). Don’t make this dish without it, or you will end up with a good dish, but nowhere near as good result. With the preserved lemon, Lemon chicken tajine is a snap to make, you will be transported by the authentic Moroccan flavors and heavenly aromas of lemon chicken tajine.

    Be sure to rinse both the olives and the preserved lemon thoroughly, or you will end up with a salty dish.


    • 8 chicken parts servings, dark and white meat, or all dark: Drumsticks, thighs, half breasts, skin on
    • 2 large onions, thinly sliced (use a food processor)
    • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or minced
    • 1 cup green pitted olives, thoroughly rinsed
    • 2 teaspoons turmeric
    • 2 good pinches saffron
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 of a preserved lemon, skin only, rinsed and chopped very fine
    • Small bunch flat-leaf parsley
    • 5-6 sprigs cilantro, stems cut off
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste


    Place the chicken, onions, ginger, olives, turmeric, saffron, water and preserved lemon in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Half way through the cooking, check to make sure you have enough liquid in the pot, add a little water if necessary. In a food processor, mince the parsley and cilantro, using the pulse button. Add the ground mixture, lemon juice and pepper to the pot, stir carefully and cook for another 10 minutes.

    Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a platter and check the cooking liquid. If it is too thin, cook it over high heat until it is reduced and thickened to the consistency of maple syrup. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro, and lemon slices. Serve hot.

    Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons


    One 3 -pound chicken, preferably organic and air chilled, quartered, backbone and wings removed

    2 teaspoons nigella seeds, briefly toasted before using

    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

    2 tablespoons saffron water (see below)

    1 teaspoon Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract (optional)

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    8 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 -inch dice

    2 small tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded, and diced

    2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

    Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

    12 Kalamata or Gaeta olives, pitted, soaked in water to remove excess salt and vinegar, and drained

    1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind rinsed and quartered


    Rinse the chicken quarters and pat dry trim away excess fat. Slide your fingers under the skin to loosen it from the flesh.

    Crush the garlic, half the nigella seeds, and the salt into a paste in a mortar. Loosen with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Rub this mixture under and over the skin of the chicken.

    Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

    Spread out the chicken pieces, flesh side down, add the onion, cover and steam for 5 minutes. Add 1 scant cup hot water, the saffron water, ginger, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts to a side dish. Cover to keep moist.

    Add the potatoes, tomatoes, the remaining nigella seeds, and half the cilantro to the sauce in the pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and chicken legs are fully cooked.

    Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and reheat. Correct the seasoning with lemon juice, add vanilla if using, and baste the chicken with the sauce. Decorate the dish with the olives, the preserved lemon wedges, and the remaining cilantro.


    How to Make Saffron Water

    Making saffron water is economical and it brings out more of the spice’s aroma and flavor than simply adding a few strands to a dish.

    Dry 1/2 teaspoon crumbled strands of Saffron in a warm (not hot) skillet. Crush again, then soak in 1 cup hot water and store in a small jar in the refrigerator. This will keep for up to a week. You can also freeze the saffron water for when you need it.


      • 2 to 3 chickens, whole or quartered, with their livers
      • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
      • Salt
      • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
      • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup salad oil
      • 2 1/2 cups grated onion, drained
      • 1/4 teaspoon pulverized saffron (mixed with turmeric, if desired)
      • 1/2 cup mixed, chopped fresh herbs (green coriander and parsley)
      • 1 1/2 cups ripe "green-brown" olives, such as Royal-Victorias
      • 2 preserved lemon
      • 2 to 3 fresh lemons
      • Large bowl
      • Paring knife
      • 6-quart casserole with cover
      • Strainer, if necessary
      • Small mixing bowl

    Moroccan chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives

    Heat the oil in a heavy, heatproof casserole, then brown the chicken pieces. Remove and set aside.
    Add the onion to the casserole (and a little more oil if necessary). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but still pale.
    Add the garlic. Mix together the spices and add, stirring for barely a minute until fragrant. Add the water, saffron, lemon and olives, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
    Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat and continue to cook, covered, for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is very tender. Check seasoning. If you like, stir in the herbs.

    Cook’s tips: Serve with steamed white rice or couscous. If you think it needs it, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to the sauce.
    Preserved lemons, the mark of Moroccan cuisine, are readily available at specialist delis, but are also easy to make at home.

    Per serving: 601kJ, 11g protein, 9.75g fat, 2g carbs

    Recipe by: Abigail Donnelly View all recipes

    Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

    Watch the video: Η Αργυρώ Μπαρμπαρίγου μαγειρεύει μαμαδίστικο κοτόπουλο Πίνδος γιουβέτσι (May 2022).


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