Spiced chicken on melting onions with preserved lemon

Simply delicious with all those waming spices + zesty tang of preserved lemon – and so eassssyyyyy!

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients: the prep could not be easier + the dish looks after itself once in the oven.

Serves 4

You will need: 

 4 chicken breasts, skin on and partly boned


8 large chicken thighs, skin removed (and preferably with the bone left in)

2 tbsp of olive oil

3 onions, halved and sliced into half-moons

½ tsp of turmeric

225ml of chicken stock

½ tsp of saffron threads

100g of green olives, stone in

 for the marinade

 1 preserved lemon

6 garlic gloves, green shoots removed and roughly chopped

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp each of paprika, cumin and cayenne

4 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of lemon oil (from the preserved lemons)

salt and pepper

 to serve

 a handful of roughly chopped parsley and coriander

This is what you do:

Stage 1

  • First, make the marinade: remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and chop it up, keep the rind for the sauce.
  • Mix the flesh with the other marinade ingredients
  • Rub the marinade all over the chicken joints, spooning some marinade under the skin
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Turn the joints every so often

Stage 2

  • Heat the oil in a the bottom of a large frying pan, add the chicken and quickly fry until golden brown
  • Transfer the chicken into an ovenproof casserole dish
  • In the same pan, start to fry the onions
  • When they are beginning to turn translucent, add the turmeric and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute
  • Add the onions to the chicken pieces
  • Bring the stock to the boil and dissolve the saffron threads in it
  • Pour the stock over the chicken
  • It will look like there is insufficient liquid, but this is it all it needs – the chicken will get nicely browned on top whilst the sauce makes itself underneath
  • Cook in the oven, pre-heated to 180 C, for 45 minutes
  • Cut the lemon rind into thin strips and add it to the dish, together with the olives, 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time
  • You will need to rinse the olives if they are preserved in brine
  • Check the sauce for pepper and salt before serving
  • Scatter the dish with roughly chopped parsley and coriander
  • Serve with rice, couscous, bulghur wheat or flatbread

 Would be yummy followed by an orange (or tangerine) & almond cake (see blog post from a few weeks ago)  maybe with a simply salady starter (or steamed tenderstem broccoli with a vinaigrette + some toasted flaked almonds) .

Great if you like hosting a dinner party without hassle  as lots of the prep can be done beforehand and the chicken will quite happily “sit around” for a bit if proceedings are delayed somewhat….

Bon appetit!


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