Tuesday, August 21, 2007
North African Chicken with special couscous
Chicken with preserved lemons and olives
1 chicken, jointed (1.5-2kg)
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 fresh chili, finely chopped (or 1/4tsp cayenne pepper)
A pinch of saffron strands steeped in 2 tbsp boiling water
275g ripe tomatoes skinned, deseeded and chopped
250ml stock or water
100g brown olives, such as kalamata, or green olives
3tbsp chopped preserved lemon (use the peel only)
the liver from the chicken if available
3-4 tbsp chopped coriander
Heat the oil in a large heavy based casserole, add the chicken pieces and cook until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Then add the onion and garlic to the casserole and cook gently until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the ground spices and chilli and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Return the chicken to the pan, turning to coat it, and pour over the saffron water. Add the tomatoes and the stock or water and bring to a very gentle simmer. Cover tightly and cook over a very low heat for 30 – 40 minutes until the chicken is tender.
Stir in the olives and preserved lemon, and the finely chopped liver if you have it, and cook for another 15 minutes. Skim off some of the surface fat, if it seems excessive. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the coriander and serve with special couscous, or plain boiled rice.
This was from The River Cottage Meat Book. Really really good book!!!
I loved this! The preserved lemon is really important to the flavor, so don’t try substituting regular lemons, they won’t work at all. If you are in the uk, you can get preserved lemons at most Tesco stores. It might be harder to find in the states but there is a recipe for making your own here.
This is a north African recipe, and it’s flavor is totally authentic. It’s really impressive. The taste of the saffron comes through very well, and mixed with the lemons and olives, well, this one is not to be missed. I would definitely make it again.
If you can, I highly recommend that you make it with the special couscous because it rocks the whole world.
350ml hot water or light stock
1/2 – 1 tsp harissa paste, to taste
4tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely sliced
25g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1-2 tbsp black olives, stoned and halved
2tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped mint
lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper
Put the couscous and raisins in a large bowl. Mix the water or stock with the harissa, then pour it over the couscous, cover and leave for 10 minutes. With a fork, or your fingers, gently fluff up the couscous, separating the grains. Stir in the oil and some salt and pepper.
Fry the onion in butter till soft and golden. Add it to the couscous with the almonds, olives, herbs, and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then fork through till everything is well mixed. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper or harissa or lemon juice if necessary.
Seriously. So good. I am going to eat couscous this way all the time now. It’s so easy, and so good.