Moroccan Lemon Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
This Moroccan chicken uses preserved lemons and has all the sunny flavours you'd expect from North African cuisine.
  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp salt (omit if using preserved lemons)
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp dried chili flakes
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice of (or the rinsed, slivered rind of 2 preserved lemons, plus ¼ cup fresh lemon juice)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, manzanilla or picholine are preferred
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Season the chicken all over with salt, if using, and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken well all over, about 3-5 minutes per side and set aside.
  3. Turn heat down to medium, add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili flakes, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and sauté, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant , about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, lemon zest (or preserved lemon rind) and juice, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to pot, add the chickpeas and olives, and stir to combine. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce has reduced somewhat and chicken is done, about another 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in fresh mint and lemon quarters just before serving.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place couscous in an oven-proof baking dish.
  3. Heat the chicken broth, butter and saffron until the butter is melted and the broth is hot. Pour the mixture over the couscous and stir well. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and let sit, covered, at room temperature for another 5 minutes. Drizzle olive oil over couscous.
  4. Serve chicken over couscous.
  5. Garnish with whole sprigs of fresh mint and grilled lemon halves, if you like.
This dish can be made the day before and reheated.

Excerpt published with permission from Whitewater Cooks with Friends
by Shelley Adams. ©2011. Published by Alicon Holdings.
Recipe by The Messy Baker at