So at long last we get to use those preserved lemons! This is a great dish to put a spring in the step of tired, jaded palates. There are lots of great spices and the tart lemon cuts through the richness.
It’s based on a recipe from Paula Wolfert’s fantastic cookbook, The Food of Morocco. If you’re one of those people who read cookbooks like novels, as I do, you’ll love this cookbook. Besides the recipes there are lots of side stories and enough challenging recipes to thrill even hard-core cooks.
We’re going to pack the tops of the chicken pieces with a spicy butter paste and then top it with a spice blend. I used chicken thighs here but this treatment would be great for breasts as well.
Moroccan Baked Chicken, Four-Five Servings
1 package chicken thighs
Five garlic cloves
1/2 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. saffron dissolved in 2 T. water
2 T. melted butter
1 T. coarsely chopped cilantro
1-1/2 T. sweet paprika
1 t. cumin
1/4 t. fresh black pepper
1 t. fresh ginger
1 small onion, sliced
1 box quick-cooking couscous
4 preserved lemon halves
Combine the garlic, salt, saffron water, butter and cilantro in a food processor or grind in a mortar. Pack it under the skin of the chicken pieces. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roast about 45 minutes or until the juices run clear from the thickest part of the meat
Prepare the couscous according to package directions. Skim the fat from the pan juices and quickly reduce by half in a saucepan. Spoon the juices over the couscous. Roughly chop the preserved lemons and toss them with the couscous. Serve alongside the chicken with flatbread.