Last night I tried out Food52′s Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives, an ideal dish for these cold, bitter evenings, and ended up with a restaurant-quality dish in a half hour—a great recipe for a last minute meal like yesterday when I didn’t start cooking until 9pm! While this recipe is fantastic, I made a few tweaks along the way to improve on it even more (brine the chicken, nix the expensive saffron, etc). Here is my take on Food52′s Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives.
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2.5 pounds skin on, bone in chicken legs and thighs
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups small diced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (feel free to add more if you like lots of spice)
- 2-3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup green olives, rinsed and sliced*
- 1 preserved lemon, cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
*I used olives stuffed with pickled garlic, which added an extra pungency and unique flavor to this dish. Highly recommend.
- In a bowl, cover your chicken with approximately 4 cups water and 1/4 cup salt and let sit in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes for a quick brine (Don’t go much over that. This is a potent brine).
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet or over medium high heat. Dry the chicken pieces and season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the skillet in batches and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper and stir together. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat with the spice mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover the skillet and simmer on medium low heat 20-25 minutes. Add the olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn the heat to high. Cook for another 6-8 minutes until sauce reduces slightly. Stir in the cilantro. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Serve chicken on a bed of couscous or basmati rice. Spoon sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro.