Thursday, 19 September 2019

Chicken with fennel, preserved lemon and olives

Posted on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 by in Taste

This beautifully bright Moroccan dish is the perfect comfort food.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes plus soaking time
Cooking time: 30 minutes

You will need
900g chicken leg quarters or thighs, preferably organic and free-range
2 tbsp coarse sea salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
225g onions, sliced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 large or 2 small preserved lemons, pulp removed, rind rinsed and quartered
2 tbsp saffron water
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp green aniseed, preferably Moroccan
900g small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut lengthways into thin slices, plus a few fronds reserved to garnish
18 green-ripe, midway or red olives
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim excess fat from the chicken. Mix the coarse sea salt with one litre water, add the chicken and soak for up to two hours. Drain and pat dry.
2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan. Add the chicken skin side down and fry, without turning, until golden. Transfer the chicken to a dish. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook over a medium heat until tender.
3. Add the preserved lemon rind, 80 milliliters of water, the saffron water, ginger and aniseed and stir once. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to the boil, then cover, lower the heat and cook for 25 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Turn each piece of chicken over and bring the cooking juices back to the boil. Add the fennel and olives, then cover and place in the oven to cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
5. If the chicken is not brown enough, turn on the grill and brown for a few minutes. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot, sprinkled with the parsley and fennel fronds.

Recipe, The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert (Bloomsbury)
Photograph: Quentin Bacon

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