Moroccan Chicken with Lemon + Olives

This chicken tagine recipe (which thankfully does not require a tagine) will immediately have your mouth watering just from the aroma alone.  But it doesn’t stop there, I promise you will be scraping up every morsel left on the plate.  Mr. du jour and I find ourselves coming back to this showstopper dish quite often and have refined it over time by including fennel, amping up the lemon strips (this is my favorite part) and including a mixture of olives, particularly the kalamatas.  Once you factor in the onions, carrots, flavorful broth and a handful of various spices – voilà, somehow an irresistible combination is formed.  Of course, this dish really shines when served over a bed of Near East’s Mediterranean Curry couscous and simply would not be the same without it!

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives
Serves 4
Adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen

1 1⁄4 tsp sweet paprika
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp ground coriander
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 strips of lemon zest peel (around 2 inch by 1⁄2 inch)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
4 chicken thighs (skin on and bone-in) and 2 chicken breasts cut in half (skin on and bone-in)
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1⁄4 inch wedges
1 fennel bulb, halved vertically and cut into 1⁄2 inch wedges
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 TBSP honey
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2 inch coins
1 c. assorted olives, pitted and halved
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP cilantro, chopped

  • Mix together spices in a small bowl, then set aside.
  • Create a garlic paste by mincing one of the lemon strips with 1 clove of minced garlic, then set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper then place skin side down in the oil to brown the skins.  Cook about 5 minutes before turning chicken over and browning for another 4 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a plate.
  • Add onion, fennel and the rest of the lemon strips to the leftover fat in the dutch oven.  Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add remaining minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the spices and stir constantly for about 1 minute.  Add broth and honey and scrap browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Return the chicken thighs to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle carrots over the chicken thighs and then place the chicken breast pieces on top of the carrots in a single layer.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken breast hits 165 degrees.  At this point, transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
  • Next stir in the olives and turn the heat up to medium-high, simmering another 4-6 minutes in order to further cook the carrots.
  • Return chicken to the pot along with the garlic mixture, lemon juice, and cilantro.  Stir to combine.
  • Serve over couscous, preferably Near East’s Mediterranean Curry couscous which cooks in no time at all (5 minutes).

2 thoughts on “Moroccan Chicken with Lemon + Olives

    • Ah yes, the sweet potato leaves! They are surprisingly mild yet have a notion of sweetness. I sautéed them with date syrup and onions which was quite yummy. Pick some up if you come across them – they are incredibly nutritious!

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