This past Wednesday we made our drive back home to Missouri. I drove 14 hours and my daughter 2 hours with one dog in the back seat. My husband took our other dog in his car. To say the least I was exhausted all day on Thursday and part of Friday. It’s hard for me to understand why sitting all day long would make me so tired, but it did. At any rate, we’re home and settled in again, like we never left.
Prior to leaving Colorado, I posted a recipe for Preserved Lemons from Paula Wolfert’s cookbook, “The Food of Morocco.” Although I’ve never been to Morocco, from what I’ve seen and read I’d love to visit someday. After ordering Paula’s book I became addicted to reading it. There’s a wealth of information about Morocco, the food, their culture, special Moroccan secrets for preparing dishes, plus wonderful photos of it all. Paula Wolfert’s recipes are so well written, revealing even the smallest tidbit of information was so useful, linking one page or item to another page giving greater detail, so your finished dish reaches perfection. Superb!
After posting the recipe last week for Preserved Lemons I realized I made an error saying that the lemons only took 7 days to prepare. You prepare them in one day, placing them in a tight fitting jar, however, you should wait up to 30 days before eating them for superior flavor. I’m sure by now if you’ve had the chance to review the recipe, you noticed the error. I’ve since made the necessary corrections on last weeks post.
If you’ve attempted to make the preserved lemons I hope after the 30 days you’ll try this recipe. My husband who isn’t fond of experimenting with new dishes tried this and finished everything on his plate then went back for more. Both my kids and I enjoyed it too. Everything was gone.
One word of advice though – be sure to rinse the preserved lemons well to remove any remaining salt, otherwise they’ll be too strong.
I would also recommend to mise en place all ingredients in the recipe before starting to cook for ease of preparation.
Read the ingredient list and directions entirely at least 2 times, plus the asterisks (*) before embarking on this recipe. It’s really quite simple.
Here’s the recipe……
Chicken with Preserved Lemons, Soft Black Olives and Nigella Seeds
Yield: 4 servings
One 3-pound chicken, quartered, backbone and wings removed
1. Rinse the chicken quarters and pat dry; trim away any excess fat. Slide your fingers under the skin to loosen it from the flesh.
2. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, half the nigella seeds and the salt to a paste. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Rub this mixture under and over the skin of the chicken.
3. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Push the chicken to one side of the skillet and carefully tilt the skillet to the other side, and use a spoon to remove almost all the fat. 4. 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. 5. 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. 6. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and reheat. Correct the seasoning with the lemon juice, and baste the chicken with the sauce. Decorate the dish with the olives, the preserved lemon wedges, and the remaining cilantro.
* Nigella Seeds– I had a difficult time finding Nigella Seeds, however they are also found under the name Charnushka (Nigella Sativa) at Penzey’s.
** How to make Saffron Water – 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. For longer storage pour the saffron water into a plastic ice cube tray and freeze into cubes. Once frozen, shake out the cubes and store in a freezer bag. Each cube will be equivalent to 2 tablespoons saffron water or a good pinch of dried saffron threads.
Although there are several steps to making this dish it all comes together quickly. I hope you try this tasty and unique Moroccan dish.
Hi, I’m Vicki Bensinger! I have been teaching culinary classes throughout Missouri since 1992. I offer personalized private culinary classes for individuals and small groups in the comfort of your home or organization.
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