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Chicken tajine with preserved lemons and olives

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Essentially the Moroccan version of a casserole dish, a tajine is an earthenware pot with a pointy lid. It is used to cook and serve aromatic meat and poultry dishes which, like casseroles, are also called tajines. I was given one once, along with a cookbook called Moroccan Modern, and that’s when I first discovered this delicious chicken dish made with preserved lemons and olives – perfect for our region!

I used a 1.8 kilo free range liberty chicken from the Locavore Store, some preserved lemons which have been happily preserved in the pantry for several years, (see recipe here) and olives made in Concetta Sultan’s Olive pickling class last year.

It was a nice change from a traditional roast and the olives and lemon are a great combination. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have all the spices — it still tastes great!

Ingredients:
• 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
• 1/2 cup Chermoula marinade*
• 4 tbsp peanut oil
• Spices: 1/2 tsp each of salt, saffron threads, black pepper, ground cumin, ground ginger and a cinnamon stick
• 4 crushed garlic cloves
• 1 x brown onion, diced
• 1 tomato cut into thin wedges
• 1 bunch parsley
• 2 large potatoes cut into wedges
• 2 cups water
• 150g green olives (pitted)
• 1 preserved lemon cut into wedges
• Coriander leaves

Charmoula marinade with preserved lemon
• 1 cup fresh parsley,
• 1 cup fresh coriander
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 tsp ground ginger
• 1/2 tsp saffron threads, optional
• 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
• 1 preserved lemon, chopped
• 1/2 cup olive oil

Method
Wash and dry the chicken and cut into quarters (or into 6/8 depending on how many people you are serving)
Cover with the Chermoula marinade and refrigerate overnight.
Using a large, heavy based saucepan, brown the chicken pieces in the oil, then add the spices, garlic and onion and cook for approx 10 minutes, turning the chicken.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the saucepan and arrange in the tajine. Keep reducing the stock left in the pan, then add olives and preserved lemon.
To serve, place the potato wedges around the edge of the tajine and scatter the olives and lemon wedges before pouring the stock over the top. Garnish with parsley or coriander.