Monday, December 14, 2009

Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

2 tsps. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs. of chicken just thighs and legs, the darker meat is more flavorful)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
Peel from 1 preserved lemon, washed in cold water, pulp discarded, cut into thin strips
1 cup green olives, pitted
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine all the spices in a bowl. Pat dry the chicken pieces and place them in the bowl, coat well with the spicy mixture. Let the chicken stand for one hour in the mixture.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and lemons are salty). Brown for five minutes. Lower the heat to medium -low, add the garlic and onions. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
3. Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives and raisins, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender.
4. Mix in cilantro and parsley right before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serves 4-6. Serve with rice or cous cous.

Preserved Lemons
8-10 Meyer lemons*, scrubbed very clean
1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed
Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed
Sterilized quart canning jar
*You don't need to use Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do, it's just that the milder Meyer lemons work very well for preserving in this way

1. Place 2 tbsp. salt in the bottom of the jar.
2. Prepare each of the lemons in the following manner: Cut off any protruding stems from the lemon and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip but do not cut all the way through. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in the same way so that the lemon is quartered.
3. Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt on the inside and outside of the lemon.
4. Pack the lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that the juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill up the jar with lemons, make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple of Tbsp. of salt.
5. Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, for at least 3 weeks until the rind softens.
6. To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt. Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired.
7. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Note: You can add spices to the lemons for preserving--cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf

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