What’s For Lunch Wednesday…Tajine of Chicken with Preseved Lemons.This North African dish is one of the staples here. You can never go wrong with this simple Chicken dish.
You can find the preserved lemons at several specialty grocery stores in the United States but they are also easy to preserve at home. I have also tried this same recipe with fresh lemons. Fresh lemons will not provide the same flavor, however I was still pleased with the result.
Not having a tajine pot is also not a problem. This dish can be made using a regular stock pot or in a crock pot. If you use a slow cooker you will just combine everything and let it do its thing. You would only need to add the olives about 1/2 hour before serving.
You can also omit the smen (clarified butter) if it is unavailable to you.
400 grams of chicken (cut into chunks)
½ red onion (finely chopped)
½ preserved lemon
10 purple or green olives
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon cilantro (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon olive oil (if not using clarified butter use 2 tablespoons olive oil)
1 teaspoon smen / ghee (clarified butter)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch saffron threads
1- cut the half preserved lemon into quarters and separate the flesh from the skin. Keep the skin whole as we are going to use it later on for decoration.
2- Remove the pulp from the white skin. Discard the skin because it’s too hard and wont cook.
3- Finely chop the preserved lemon pulp
4- peel and finely chop the garlic cloves.
5- Finely chop the cilantro and parsley. Place the preserved lemon pulp, garlic, parsley and cilantro in a tagine.
6- Add the spices, olive oil, vegetable oil, and water. Mix well.
7- Add the clarified butter. Mix well.
Cooking the Chicken:
1- Place the chicken in the tagine and stab it with a knife so that the meat absorbs the spices.
2- Place the chopped onion underneath the chicken.
3- Cover the tagine and let it cook on medium heat until the chicken is done (around 45 minutes). Check on the tagine from time to time and add water if necessary; there should always be enough sauce in the bottom of the tagine for the meat not to burn.
1- Few minutes before the chicken is done, add purple or green olives to the tagine.
2- Slice the preserved lemon skin like a leaf and add it to the tagine.