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Moroccan Chicken with Olives


Today was seriously busy — fortunately for me, D’s stepmom Terri came in a couple days early to help cook, finish up grocery shopping, and see to it that the house was clean. That last bit she takes more seriously than you can imagine; when D and I moved into our apt, in a 100-year old building, the stove was caked with some hard-core black stains that I assumed were there to stay. I tried a couple of times to get them out but made no headway whatsoever, so I just got used to them. Terri doesn’t give up so easily; she’s got a big back of tricks up her sleeve when it comes to cleaning things, and I could swear she also pulled some sort of voodoo hex thing while I wasn’t looking, because folks, my stove is crystal clean. If you only knew the sort of filth I’ve been cooking with — it’s the sort that builds up over many many years — I can’t believe it’s actually all gone. amazing!

Meanwhile, on the cooking front, today I made (among other things) a delicious chicken recipe that I’ve just gotta share with you all. It’s a braised chicken dish with Moroccan flair. It starts with lots of onion that’s been cooked to the point of soft, caramelized translucence; punchy green olives are then added along with preserved lemon, which is both uber-tart and floral from the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in which it’s preserved. I was on the phone while I was cooking this dish, and after sampling a bit of the sauce, I added a splash of apple cider on a whim to cut all the salt, which worked very nicely. It’s not in the recipe on which this is based, but it adds depth and balance so I’d recommend adding it. If you’re looking for a chicken dish, I can assure you — this is the one.

Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ll have a chance to post between now and the start of the holiday, so…

To all those celebrating Rosh Hashana, may you all have a sweet New Year, filled with joy, laughter, and wonderful eating. I feel lucky to have you all in my ‘life,’ and I hope that you’ll continue to read, enjoy, and cook from NDP!

Also, though it’s been a busy little month here, I don’t want to overlook the fact that this weekend marks my 2-YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! That’s right: exactly 2 years ago, I had the quirky little brainchild to hatch Not Derby Pie. I worried at the time that I’d be too bored to keep a blog, not talented enough to cook and photograph my way through it, and not lucky enough to draw readers; fortunately, I’ve made it thusfar! You’re the best readers (and commiserators!) I could ask for, and I feel exceptionally lucky to have you all hangin’ out around here. So cheers to all, happy birthday to NDP, and here’s to many more years together!

Moroccan Chicken with Olives

8 wedges or slices preserved lemon*, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
1/2 cup green olives

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add next 5 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add broth; bring to boil. Sprinkle chicken with salt (if not kosher or brined) and pepper; add to skillet. Add preserved lemon and olives. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Add apple cider to skillet. Increase heat to high; boil uncovered to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Add chicken back into sauce, and serve together. I guarantee people will lick their plates clean.

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  • CherylK September 18, 2009,

    Well, Happy Anniversary!

    I just helped my daughter move into a new “old” home that she just bought and the stove was really scary. So, like the good mom that I am, I proceeded to clean it. I had some gel cleaner that I lathered on and let stand for about an hour and then I went back and scraped the heck out of it. It all came off.

    The chicken looks great – will have to try that. Have a good holiday.

  • oneshotbeyond September 18, 2009,

    I like the looks of this dish!

  • Cindy Marlow October 12, 2009,

    I’ve cooked a similar recipe several times in a tagine and it always gets rave reviews. Love, love, love the spice combination. I’ll try the cider vinegar next time.

  • Anna Linn November 2, 2009,

    Oh MY. This is so delicious! My girls, aged 3.5 & 5 are telling me as I type “I like this chicken mama…can you make it for shabbat with Papa & Nana this week?” If that’s not an endorsement, then I don’t know what is! My darling hubby is arriving home soon and I expect rave reviews.
    PS: I did not have any ginger, i used a small spoonful of a fancy fig & ginger jam that I recd’ as a gift. Also, I made the recipe with only 5 pieces of chicken so I had lots of sauce leftover…great on rice!! And I made roasted sweet potatoes w/evoo & rosemary to contrast the savory w/some sweet. All that and a green salad…great dinner! Thanks!