Morrocan Chicken with Preserved Lemons

Preparation time: 20 mins Cooking time: 1 hr Medium Serves: 4


This is one of the best-known dishes of Morocco. Typical largely due to the absence of tomatoes, and the presence of preserved lemons, olives and spices such as cinnamon, ginger, saffron and turmeric.


  • 1.5kg Free-range chicken
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 4 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g Butter
  • 1 tbsp Ground ginger
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 3 / 4 tsp Turmeric
  • 3 / 4 tsp Saffron strands
  • 3 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 100g Kalamata olives
  • 100g Preserved Lemons, halved, flesh discarded
  • 50g Chicken liver, chopped
  • 10g Coriander, chopped
  • 10g Flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Put the chicken into a flameproof casserole, tagine or saucepan in which it will fit snugly. Add the onion, garlic, butter, ginger, cinnamon stick, turmeric and saffron; season. Pour in 700ml water, cover and bring to the boil over a medium-to-high heat. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, spooning the sauce over the chicken and turning it over now and then until it is just cooked through “ about 40 minutes. Lift the chicken onto a plate and cover with foil.

Add the lemon juice to the casserole, increase the heat once more and simmer the sauce rapidly until reduced by about two-thirds. Return the chicken to the casserole with the olives and pieces of preserved lemon, cover with a well-fitting lid and simmer for a further 20-25 minutes until the chicken is tender. Lift the chicken onto a large, warmed platter.

Add the chicken liver and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the herbs, seasoning if necessary, spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Serve with couscous, or a roast vegetable dish.

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