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Braised Chicken with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon

Braised Chicken with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon
Serving Size:
Cooking Time:
Imperial (US)
I love adding preserved lemon bits to a finished dish to give it some lift after a long braising, but usually forget to plan ahead and preserve some the traditional way, cured in salt for days. I learned a cool trick from San Francisco chef, Mourad Lahlou. In his wonderful cookbook, Mourad, he shows a great way to make preserved lemons in 24 hours. See below for the technique which works well for thin skinned Meyers as well as other lemons.
  • 2 lemons
  • kosher salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp each: allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 12 chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, quartered and cut into 1/2
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup green olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup parsley
The day before you cook the chicken, make the Preserved Lemons
Slice off the ends of one lemon. Then make round slices across the lemon about ¼” thick. Lay the slices out on your cutting board and liberally sprinkle the kosher salt over the slices. Now reassemble the lemon into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
Repeat with the other lemon.
Place the lemons in the freezer overnight.
The next day, remove from freezer and let thaw. Unwrap, shake off excess salt and place slices into a small jar. Fill jar with the olive oil. Place lid on jar and turn upside down to evenly coat slices. The slices are ready to use, or store for later use. If covered with oil, the jar can stay at room temperature, or keep in frig and bring back to room temp before using.
Make the Chicken
Combine first 8 spices in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs and toss until well coated on all sides. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Remove chicken from refrigerator. Heat butter and oil together in large oven-proof deep sauté pan, ceramic tagine or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until butter starts to bubble.
Salt chicken and brown on all sides in batches, removing to plate when they are done.
Add onions to pan, stirring and scraping up bits of browned meat on bottom of pan.
Add chicken stock, bay leaves and olives. Add chicken back to pan, turning pieces on their sides if necessary to squeeze all chicken into one layer.
Simmer chicken over low heat, uncovered, for about 1 hour.
Remove juices from pan and deglaze fat. To do this either ladle all juices into a specially designed fat remover pitcher, or ladle into glass measuring cup and place in freezer until fat thickens on top enough to spoon off.
Return stock to pan and keep chicken warm.
To finish the dish:
Select 2 preserved lemon slices and wipe off any excess salt from the lemon slices. Mince the lemon and the parsley leaves together.
Sprinkle the relish over the chicken.
Serve the chicken with the sauce, olives and lemon relish with couscous or rice.
Recipe by Jane O’Riordan


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