Heat the oven to 350°F. In a Dutch oven or high-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides; transfer to a plate. Pour off all but a few tablespoons of fat from the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, leeks, celery and carrots to the braising pot. Cook until the vegetables are tender and just starting to brown. Stir in thyme, garlic, 2 Tbs. of the preserved lemon (or 2 tsp. of the zest) and the cardamom and cook one minute more.
Return the chicken to the pot, and add enough of the broth to barely cover the chicken. Bring to a gentle simmer on the stovetop, then tranfer the pot, uncovered, to the oven.
Braise in the oven, basting and turning the meat occasionally. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer (barely bubbling). The chicken is done when it’s tender enough to cut with a fork and the meat easily comes away from the bone, about 1-1/2 hours.
Transfer the chicken to a plate, let the liquid cool, and spoon off any fat. (If you prefer a smooth, refined sauce, strain the liquid and return it to the pot) Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Return the chicken to the pot.
When ready to serve, warm the meat in the sauce, basting frequently, and stir in the chickpeas, olives, remaining preserved lemons (or lemon zest), and capers.
Make Ahead Tips
You can prepare the braise through the step of reducing the sauce, and then refrigerate the chicken in its sauce, tightly covered, for up to five days or freeze for up to three months. When ready to serve, reheat the chicken in its sauce and stir in the garnishes.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips