This Past Fall I had the pleasure of photographing a recipe contest for a local publication Barrington 365. Michelle Van Loon’s recipe was one of the contest winners. It was also a win in our house. The smell of her home when I arrived to pick up her prepared dish was heavenly. My family enjoyed it and specifically asked to have it added here so the recipe will always be available. This is one you will want to make again and again.
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced or crushed
2 small lemons, sliced thin
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 2″ cinnamon stick
pinch of sugar, cayenne
pinch of saffron (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro and Italian parsley, minced
1 additional lemon for garnish, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken parts, skin side up, in a large shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and garlic, then add olives and raisins in and around the chicken pieces. Tuck the cinnamon stick in the middle of the chicken, then add the water. Next, cover chicken with sliced lemons.
Mix together ginger, sugar, cayenne and saffron, and sprinkle atop the lemons. Drizzle with olive oil.
Slide the pan into the over and roast for 1-1/4 hours or until the chicken is golden brown, basting frequently and sliding the lemons around a bit each time you do.
(Important Detail: I cover the chicken lightly with foil for the first 45-50 minutes of roasting so it doesn’t brown too quickly.)
Remove from the oven and cover with foil, allowing to stand for 15 minutes. Remove chicken to large serving platter and discard lemons. Skim fat from the pan juices, then add half the cilantro and parley to the pan and return it to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, add remaining cilantro and parsley, and pour over the chicken. Add remaining lemon, wedged, for garnish if desired.
Serve with Israeli (large) couscous or basmati rice.