One Pan Moroccan Lemon Olive Chicken. I don’t even know where to start with what got my attention first. One-pan recipes are my jam on any given night, and I’m always down with lemon, olives, and chicken. But Moroccan food is probably what sealed the deal. I love it! All the spices and flavors are always a hit around here, and getting me to try a new Moroccan recipe is never difficult. See how easy that was? I’m going to try a new one right now!
Traditionally cooked in a tangine, [Djej M’Chernel] is a wonderfully flavorful and fragrant chicken dish that combines two of my favorite flavors – lemons and olives.
The first thing I do when getting ready to make any recipe is to check and see what I have on hand. Since I love exotic food and I’m a food blogger, I probably have more than most people would have on hand. That came in very handy for this recipe!
I had all the spices (there were quite a few), the preserved lemons, and the olive oil. That left me to buy the chicken, olives, and other produce items. None of these were difficult to find at my regular grocery store.
This recipe gives the option of using chicken breasts or thighs, and I chose thighs. I find them more flavorful and less prone to drying out. They also cook up faster since they are thinner.
I also noticed that this recipe calls for canned olives. I never really paid too much attention, but I usually buy pimento-stuffed olives in a jar. The canned olives aren’t stuffed and have what I can only describe as a softer taste. Jarred olives might overpower this recipe.
Almost done! The one spice you might have an issue with is saffron. It’s expensive for a very small amount. If it’s out of your budget, don’t worry about it! Honestly, just add a pinch of turmeric instead or skip it altogether.
And lastly, there are the preserved lemons. I make mine, so I almost always have some on hand. My local grocery stores don’t carry them, so it’s either make them or order online. But the good news is they last for a long time, and you will find yourself looking for ways to use them–they’re delicious!
I prep as I cook most of the time, but I decided to prep everything first for this recipe. That meant some dicing, mincing, and measuring out the spices. It really wasn’t bad, though, and only took me 10 minutes before I was ready to get cooking.
First up was to caramelize the slices of lemon that would be used as a garnish. I just popped them into the pan since I oil my cast iron after each use. The thinner slices browned fastest, but they all were nicely charred after three minutes. Best of all, they didn’t stick to the pan.
Now it was onto the chicken. I browned mine for three minutes on each side since the thighs were on the thin side. Take your time with this and just let the chicken do its thing. Getting a nice crust on the chicken makes a big difference in the finished dish!
From here it was all about getting those spices cooked up, and this part smelled so good! Start by cooking up the onions, then add the ground spices. After that, deglaze the pan with the saffron water, and add the browned chicken back into the pan. Cover and let the chicken braise for 15 minutes, and you’re almost done.
Once the chicken is ready (mine was done in 15 minutes), remove from the heat and add the olives, lemon juice, and preserved lemon. Give it all a good stir, and serve over couscous. It really was that easy!
Making this recipe seemed like it went according to the recipe, and I didn’t need to add any extra time to get the chicken thoroughly cooked. However, my One Pan Moroccan Lemon Olive Chicken took a bit longer than the 35 minutes listed. Here’s how my time was spent:
- 10 minutes to prep
- 38 minutes to cook
- 48 minutes total