One of Morocco’s most popular dishes is chicken with olives. For all those who’d like to enjoy a little of Morocco at home we are exploring two versions of this classic.
The first is a traditional Moroccan recipe from Samira at the Riad Laaroussa kitchen, who writes the blog A Moroccan Kitchen, recommended reading for anyone who enjoys the Moroccan cuisine.
This recipe uses the traditional Moroccan ingredient of preserved lemons.
For this recipe that will feed 4 to 6 you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 chicken – approx 2kg – or 2kg of chicken legs or thighs
- 4 medium onions – sliced
- 4 tablespoons – Olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves – crushed or sliced
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 litre of water
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and coriander
- 100g red olives
- Strips of preserved lemon
Samira uses a pressure cooker in her recipe, but we’ve adapted it a bit as pressure cookers aren’t that common in the kitchens of most people we know. Use a heavy metal casserole pan with a lid or similar.
Pre heat your oven to 180c or Gas Mark 6.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and allow the pan to heat over a moderate heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown well chicken all over to seal them
- After the chicken pieces have started to brown add the onions, garlic and a generous pinch of salt
- When the onion has coloured nicely add the ginger and saffron
- Continue cooking until the chicken is golden on all sides
- Add 1 litre of water and heat to a rolling simmer
- Now put a lid on the pan and put it into the preheated oven for approx 1.5 hours – 2 hours.
- Check the chicken is well cooked and remove the pan from the oven
- Turn up the oven o 220C or Gas Mark 8
- Remove the chicken from the pan and put it on a tray in the oven to brown
- Put the olives with the preserved lemon strips into the sauce and reduce it to a thick sauce.
- When the sauce has thickened and the chicken browned, stir the parsley and coriander into the sauce
- Serve the chicken with sauce and decorate it with olives and slices of preserved lemonThis dish is best served with rice.
This dish is best served with rice.
This is a version of the Moroccan classic which tastes fantastic and can generally be made out of your store cupboard essentials if you can’t get your hands on preserved lemons or red olives.
This recipe serves 4
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 teaspoons of paprika
- 3 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 chicken thighs
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 3 teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 200g green olives
- 3 large lemons
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 400ml water
- Crush the garlic cloves to a paste with a pinch of salt
- Mix the garlic with the paprika, cumin, black pepper and half the olive oil
- Toss with the chicken and leave it for as long as you can – a few hours is fine or overnight if you are preparing in advance
- Heat the rest of the olive oil in a shallow casserole
- Add the chicken pieces and cook on all sides until golden
- Lift the chicken out with tongs or a draining spoon and add the onion, you can also add some more olive oil if it is getting low
- Cook the onions until the are golden, then add the saffron, turmeric and olives
- Cook over a medium head for 2 minutes and then return the chicken to the pan
- Pour over the juice of 1.5 – 2 lemons and 400ml of cold water
- Slice the remaining lemon and add to the pan
- Bring to the boil and, cover with a lid and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes
- The liquid should be reduced to a nice thick sauce giving a few generous spoonful per serving. If the sauce is too thin, boil it hard to reduce it down
- Now check the seasoning, you may need to add a pinch of salt depending on how salty the olives are
- Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over and rice
Tasting Morocco – experience the treat for the tastebuds that is Moroccan cookery, and learn the art yourself
Because of Morocco’s long history of trading with countries across the world, Moroccan cuisine is sumptuously diverse and varied, with influences from both East and West. We’ll take a look at some of the highlights of Moroccan cookery, and explain how you can learn how to make some of the dishes yourself.
When you visit Morocco, you’ll be bowled over by the cuisine. The first thing you’ll notice about Moroccan food is the multitude of multicoloured spices that populate every Moroccan souk and kitchen. Spices are used extensively in Moroccan cookery and many are locally grown. Just step out to a market and you’ll see the reds of paprika and pepper, browns of cinnamon, cumin and coriander, striking yellow turmeric and golden saffron stacked high in a rainbow of seasoning.
Olives, oranges and lemons are also popular ingredients in Moroccan dishes, indeed fruit is very popular, with prunes and apricots a feature of many savoury meals. Lemon pickle is a popular flavouring device.
Beef, lamb and poultry are the most popular meats in Moroccan cooking, and there are a good range of seafood dishes too. Vegetarian dishes are also popular and couscous, chickpeas and fresh vegetables – especially aubergine and tomatoes – feature extensively on the menu.
For those with a sweet tooth, kaab el ghzal (translated as gazelle horns) is an almond filled pastry, while honey and sesame cakes also feature prominently. These sweets are not usually served as desserts at the end of a main meal, when you will instead enjoy fresh fruit.
Couscous, chickpeas and fresh vegetables – especially aubergine and tomatoes – feature extensively on the menu”
Alternatively, you can arrange a cookery course for yourself. Fez Food enables you to book cooking lessons and culinary adventures and celebrates the shared language of delicious food. You can travel from Fez to the village of Khoukhate and learn from the women there how to roll couscous by hand, as well as sampling delicious jams that include some surprising flavours such as watermelon and carrot.
Fez’s Clock Kitchen is the area’s first dedicated cooking school, and here you will have the whole cooking experience in one day. You’ll begin by choosing your own personal menu (so if you’re vegetarian or have allergies, for example, you’ll have nothing to worry about). Then you take a trip to the souk, accompanied by a chef, to purchase ingredients, before returning to the school to cook your meal under your chef’s guidance. Afterwards, you will enjoy your self-cooked food in the Clock Cafe.
For details of Moroccan riads and hotels that offer cookery courses, contact Morocco Gateway today. Morocco Gateway can offer special deals on Moroccan hotels and riads.