Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Myriad spices and preserved lemon come together in this exotically flavored chicken dish with minimal hands-on time, making Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon an ideal recipe for entertaining.

A platter mounded with Moroccan Chicken

Looking back at one of my old blog posts feels like pulling out an old high school yearbook from a dusty closet shelf. I first prepared this recipe in February 2014. At the time I hit “post,” I was feeling reasonably accomplished and proud to post both recipe and photograph. Four plus years later, I cringe – at the poorly lit and composed image and appallingly written recipe, for starters. What. Was. I. Thinking. In the future, when I’m exasperated by my lack of noticeable improvement, I’ll revisit a post from 2014 to remind myself how far I’ve truly come. Oh, the horror.

Inspired by Epicurious’s Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemons.

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Myriad spices and preserved lemon come together in this exotically flavored chicken dish with minimal hands-on time, making Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon an ideal recipe for entertaining.


  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • Handful Italian parsley
  • Handful cilantro
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (about 3.5 – 4 lbs.)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1” slices
  • ¾ cup pitted oil-cured black olives
  • 1 ½ preserved lemons, sliced (or one fresh lemon very thinly sliced)


  1. In a food processor, process first 12 ingredients through saffron to make a marinade. Arrange chicken, carrots, olives and lemon in a 13×9” pan and pour marinade over and around ingredients. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least two hours and up to one day.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place dish, covered with foil, in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 additional minutes until chicken is cooked through. If desired, broil for an additional 5 minutes to crisp skin on chicken.
  3. To serve, arrange chicken, carrots, olives and lemon on a platter. Degrease sauce and pour over chicken and vegetables. Serve with aromatic rice.

The author in a photo from highschool

Speaking of school years…yep, gloves, a walking stick, and check out those shoulder pads!



Preserved Kumquats

In a shallow dish on my kitchen counter sat two handfuls of kumquats, compliments of my CSA.  What does one do with two handfuls of kumquats?  Not that I don’t know what to do with kumquats,  I made a delicious Moroccan kumquat marmalade with last year’s bounty, but that required two copious pounds, not a measly few handfuls.  The tedious process of slicing and seeding kumquats that’s required for a proper marmalade isn’t worth the trouble for the small, single, half-pint jar. 

I stood staring at those kumquats for a few days…Moroccan marmalade or what?  Somehow the thoughts of Moroccan cooking (memories of my culinary school final project) lead me to one of my favorite condiments – preserved lemons.  I adore salty, sour, bitter, spicy preserved lemons added to gelato or braised chicken or a myriad of other dishes.  I’ve been waiting months for my lemon tree to ripen allowing me to produce another batch – and then it came to me (shebang!) – preserved kumquats, of course!

Preserved Kumquats

Preserved Kumquats

Preserved Kumquats

Rinse two handfuls of kumquats.  Score rind about 1/4 inch deep.  In a saucepan, combine kumquats, about 2.5 c. water and 3T. kosher salt.  Bring to boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until rind becomes slightly transparent. With slotted spoon, transfer kumquats to canning jar. Add 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 t. coriander seeds and 2 t. black peppercorns.  Press kumquats down slightly to release juice.  Add reserved salted water to cover kumquats and fill jar.  Seal. 

They’ll be ready by Sunday, when I’ll be testing them in “Moroccan chicken with preserved kumquats and black olives”.  Stay tuned.