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Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons


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Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons


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Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

I first started coming across recipes that used preserved lemons like this dish for a Moroccan with preserved lemons and olives, about this time last year. The idea of preserved lemons was very intriguing and I just had to try them. Since I was not able to find any preserved lemons I finally decided to just make some myself and my first batch was ready to try. Olives are a food that I really enjoy but I rarely seem to cook with them so this dish was on the top of my list of recipes to try using the preserved lemons. Besides, it was the perfect excuse to pick up some nice quality olives to snack on at the same time. To top it all off this dish is braised so the chickens juices drip into the sauce and all of the flavours have a good chance to mingle and get to know each other including those amazing Moroccan spices. This dish takes a little bit of time and effort, but not too much, and it is well worth it. The Moroccan chicken with olives and lemon preserves turned out really well! Everything mixed together to form a tasty symphony of flavour in your mouth. Every time I try a dish with a Moroccan spice blend I am liking them more and more. I don't normally use so many spices in a single dish but the Moroccan spice blends seem to work really well. I really liked the touch of heat that the harissa brought to the table and the sweetness of the honey balanced it out well. The preserved lemon peel had a nice texture and really brought the lemon flavour to the dish. Overall I really enjoyed this dish and I look forward to enjoying the leftovers. I now have a jar and a half of preserved lemons and I would certainly like to hear how you enjoy your preserved lemons.


  • Ready Time : 0 min



  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole chicken (cut into 8 pieces, or chicken thighs or breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion (sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
  • 1/2 cup water (or chicken stock)
  • 1 preserved lemon (pith removed, and peel rinsed and sliced)
  • 1 cup olives
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)


1. Mix the paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper and rub it into the chicken.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan.
3. Add the chicken and brown on all sides and set aside.
4. Add the onion, and saute for 3 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
6. Add the water and chicken, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Add the preserved lemon, olives, harissa and honey and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and mix in the parsley and cilantro





7 Responses to Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

  1. I’ve been searching for a Moroccan chicken recipe and this one looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. avatar says: annav

    Spectacular intro to cooking Morrocan cuisine. Didn’t have all ingredients when I decided to make this last night, but it was still out of the world. Low maintenance recipe that has lured me into the world of Morrocan cooking! Thank you!!

  3. I would love to try this recipe- here r my questions:
    What is a preserved lemon & do I buy or create it ? Harissa ? Sounds familiar but not sure what it is.
    Can I use the green Mediterranean olives in the can?
    How important is it that I use a pinch of saffron-can I do without?
    Last, u give the option of using red wine or chicken stock– what type of red wine? Can I use a Cabernet sauvione or a sweet manischevitz- & for chicken stock, can I use a can of broth or Osem powder in water
    I so appreciate hearing back as this recipe is something my husband (Israeli) & kids would love & yet does not contain a lot of steps!

    • Great questions Linda. Preserved lemons can be bought, but not easily found, so you can make them with these instructions, but note it takes 2 to 3 weeks to sit before ready to use – http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipe/preserved-lemons/. Harissa also can be bought or made, here is a recipe for that http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipe/harissa/, once made it lasts forever and is wonderful on many foods, or on top of your chummus. For the other questions, I can’t say for sure, saffron adds a lot of exotic flavor, so you will miss that, but it would work. I wouldn’t use sweet red wine, but cabernet would work. The powder should be fine in place of chicken stock. Enjoy.

  4. avatar says: lirihm

    I made this for a dinner party last weekend and it was incredible. It did take a bit of pre-planning. I chose to make my own preserved lemons from the recipe link that Tamar gave a few weeks in advance. I also made the harissa. I haven’t lived in Morocco for almost 10 years and this recipe brought back so many memories. Thanks!

  5. avatar says: NaomiL

    This was an amazing recipe. I made it for my Mom’s birthday and everyone gobbled it down! I ended up using fresh lemons because I was super busy before the party and it turned out great. Next time I’ll try the preserved lemons. I also made the Harrisa which was super delicious and as Tamar suggested we enjoyed it on chummus after. Great and delicious recipe! Thanks!

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