Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Myers LemonsMy husband and I had the good fortune to go to San Diego a few weeks ago. We were only there for the weekend, and they were having a “cool” spell, which meant it didn’t get above 65 degrees. It still felt balmy to us.

While we were there we went to the Point Loma Farmers Market. It would be a tough task to keep me away from a good farmers market no matter how far I am from home.

The Sunday market was sparsely attended. Maybe if you are surrounded by fresh produce all year round there is no sense of urgency. Plus, it’s southern California so maybe there is never a sense of urgency. I found that out while waiting for coffee one morning. Apparently, even if you are the only one in line, getting coffee takes time. The surfer-cum-barista will get to you, eventually. No worries, it’s all good; especially when you are able to quell that East Coast urge to go behind the counter and get your own blasted cup of coffee.

While traveling, I like to have a levelheaded person with me when I go to the market to curtail my purchases. My eyes are always bigger than my suitcase, especially with the new 50-pound rule. The hibiscus ice tea and beautiful homemade macaroons barely made it out of the market, so they weren’t a problem. The citrus and avocados were a problem. Both were beautiful, abundant, organic and cheap; all things I like. We bought a bag of teeny tiny tangerines, lemons, limes and avocados, but thanks to my husband, only one bag of each, not the three I was sorely tempted to get.

We were on a hunt for Myers lemons, which are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. These bright yellow orbs are as delightful to look at as they are to eat. They have thin skin and are a slightly sweeter version of a lemon. I had seen them back at home in New York, but a bag was $6 and they weren’t organic. The farmers market didn’t have them, but a couple grocery stores did. We found a bag of organic Myers lemons for $1.99. When you add in the airfare, I admit it’s not exactly cost-effective, but the hunt for a bargain is half the fun, right?

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

If you have a beautiful clay tagine, (an earthenware cooking and serving pot) this is the dish to use it. I do not have one, so I’ll have to use my trusty Dutch oven. Once I get one, I’ll tell you how to cook in it but for now, you are on your own! Yes, my lack of instruction is partly petty because you have a tagine and I don’t, but I would hate to steer you wrong. All I know is don’t heat it too high or it might crack.


2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular will do in a pinch)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoon olive oil
3 to 4 lbs chicken legs and thighs (you can use any parts you’d like)
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 preserved lemon (click here to learn how to make your own)
1 cup olives, pitted
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup dried dates, chopped or raisins (optional)
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Combine all the spices in a large bowl. Pat dry the chicken pieces and coat well with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.
  • In a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven (or skillet with a lid), heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown, skin side down for five minutes.
  • Turn chicken pieces over. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinsed preserved lemon, discard pulp, and cut peel into thin strips.
  • Add the lemon strips, olives, apricots/raisins, and 1 cup water to chicken. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice or couscous and top with fresh cilantro. Serves 4.



 This recipe was shared on  Monday Mania.