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Moroccan Chicken with Olives & Preserved Lemons

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

I like to serve this dish with saffron rice or with roasted sweet potatoes flavored with cumin.


  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (to yield about 1 cup)
  • About 10 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped; more chopped leaves for garnish
  • Small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 8 sprigs), leaves and stems finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Small pinch saffron (about 10 threads), crushed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 preserved lemon, most of the pulp removed; the rind cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup red-brown unpitted olives, such as Gaetas

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 170
  • Fat (g): 19
  • Saturated Fat (g): 4
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 60
  • Sodium (mg): 570
  • Carbohydrates (g): 10
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 36


  • In a large bowl, mix the onion, herbs, and spices; this mixture is called a charmoula. In a deep skillet or a Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in two batches until browned on all sides, about 3 min. per side, transferring the pieces to the bowl with the charmoula as they’re done. Pour off and discard most of the oil in the pan, leaving a film on the bottom. Toss the chicken to coat it with the charmoula. Pour 1/4 cup water into the pan over medium heat and scrape up any browned bits to help them dissolve. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chicken so it’s in a single layer (a little overlap is fine). Scrape out the bowl of charmoula, adding the contents to the pan. Add 3/4 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the preserved lemon strips and olives to the sauce. Cover and simmer, turning the chicken occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and very tender and the onion and herbs have melted into the sauce, 10 to 15 min. If it’s not yet saucy but the liquid is evaporating, add more water and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 min. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the sauce uncovered so it has some body, about 3 min. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped cilantro leaves.
  • This recipe has been excerpted from  Weekend Cooking 2007 ,  a collection of recipes, tips, and ideas for your favorite part of the week—the weekend! You’ll find lots of delicious inspiration in this volume of Weekend Cooking, with menus and recipes destined to become favorites.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • user-403352 | 03/23/2016

    A friend thought olives and chicken were a weird combination. Then they tried this...then they had another helping...enough said.

  • Sean527 | 12/16/2013

    Very good meal and easy to make. I used kalamata olives for my dish - easy to find. I could not find preserved lemons so made them myself. Actually easy to make preserved lemons so I now have several jars for future meals.

  • TXKami | 01/25/2010

    It's hard to find preserved lemons but it's worth the search to make this recipe -- absolutely terrific. I did not have saffron and didn't notice its absence. I used kalamata olives and it was just fine.

  • bpang | 10/20/2009

    Made it for friends and family and it's always a hit. I specially like to make it during our long and cold Canadian winter.

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