Friday, April 4, 2014

Moroccan Chicken and Lemons

One of my favorite flavors in the world is roasted chicken, lemons and onions. I'm not a huge fan of olives  but in the recipe their saltiness works perfectly. I am lucky enough to have more saffron than I need (if that's possible) I was able to get it for cheap in Zanzibar and love the color and flavor it adds to this dish. This recipe was tweaked slightly by a recipe I found on Pinterest that was pulled from can find it: here
You can also follow my "Chakula (food)" board here on Pinterest: here , my "Chakula Afrika" here: here, "Naughty but Yummy" here: here, and finally "Recipes Tried and Reviewed" here: here
Anyhow, this was from a recipe called "Dejej Besla" and it is actually a Tagine. I tweaked it a bit to be a one dish in the oven sort of week night easy dish. I went heavy on the paprika and light on the cumin. Cumin is often overpowering to me and I usually cut it in half. This dish would also be delightful if you were lucky to have preserved Lemons. I have found them at Whole Foods. You can also make them yourself.  I plan on doing that in a future blog post.  
Moroccan Chicken and Lemons about to put in the oven for roasting

1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste 
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground turmeric
5 tbsp. olive oil
4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
4 skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks
1 tsp. crushed saffron threads
4 medium yellow onions, cut into 12 wedges each
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed
1¼ cups pitted green olives
⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro
Cooked white rice, for serving


1. Make a spice paste: Using the flat side of your knife, chop and mash salt and garlic together on a cutting board into a smooth paste; transfer paste to a large bowl and stir in cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Stir in 3 tbsp. oil, and then add chicken thighs and drumsticks; toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

2. Combine all ingredients on a baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.   Keep an eye on it.  One of the biggest problems with this type of dish is that people don't let it cook long enough.  Thighs and legs will stay juicy even if cooked for a while and are a lot more forgiving than breasts.  This dish is not done until the onions are very, very cooked and the lemons are browned.