Chicken with Saffron, Lemon, and Olives
Time requirement about 45 minutes. If time allows, another 30 minutes to marinade the chicken before you start cooking.
What you will need:
2 large chicken thighs, about 6-8 ounces each.
4 tablespoons olive oil.
½ teaspoon powdered ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 pinches of saffron.
Black pepper to grind
2 medium sized onions (5-6 ounces each) sliced very thinly.
3 garlic cloves chopped.
12 pitted green olives.
½ preserved lemon, cut into quarters. *
½ cup water.
Boiled rice (a recipe is in the chapter Building Blocks.
1 bunch of cilantro sprigs.
Place the olive oil, ginger, cumin, and some freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl large. Crush the saffron between your fingers and add it to the bowl. Place the chicken in the bowl and coat it the seasoned oil. Leave the chicken to marinade for 30-60 minutes (if time allows, if not proceed).
Prepare the onions, garlic, and lemon and set aside. (*If you do not have preserved lemon, take a fresh lemon cut it in half, squeeze the juice from the lemon and cut the lemon half to 6 slices.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a Dutch oven over a medium-high heat. Let the pan heat up. It is ready when a single drop of water evaporates on contact. When the pan is hot, pour some of the seasoned oil into the pan then add the chicken skin side down. Brown the chicken well in its skin side. (3-5 minutes). Turn and cook on the other side for a minute. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Reduce the heat under the pan to low. Add the onions to the pan and sauté them until they are soft. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Stir the onions frequently and use the juices they render to deglaze the bottom of the pan. When the onions are soft, add the garlic, lemon, and water. When the liquid begins to simmer, return the chicken to the pan. Place the pan uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the olives and cook an additional 5 minutes. While the chicken cooks, check it to make sure the pan is not drying out. If it does, add a little hot water a tablespoon or two at a time.
5 minutes after you added the olives, the chicken should be done. Taste the sauce for salt. Add it if you think it needs it. The olives and preserved lemons should have added all the needed salt.
Serve the chicken and the sauce over boiled rice. Garnish each serving with chopped fresh cilantro.