As promised, here's a recipe for a classic Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives. I've based it on a dish from the 280 year old Riad Enija- this was a mouth wateringly hip establishment in Marrakesh we were lucky enough to stay at for our honeymoon a year or so back, lovingly restored by a Swedish UNESCO architect, his slightly Gothic wife and their slinky Pharonic stray cats.
My last post described how to make the Preserved Lemons. First, you will need to make a marinade. In your favourite mixing bowl combine: lemon juice, the pulp (ie interior flesh) from the Preserved Lemons, salted butter, chopped onions, minced garlic, saffron strands, pepper, chopped and peeled ginger, sea salt, chopped parsley and "ras-el-hanout".
"Ras-el-hanout" is a spice mix or paste, which you can easily grind up yourself in a pestle and mortar. There are no rules, per se, but it the mix could easily include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili pepper, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn and turmeric, all according to your own taste or whim.
Marinate the jointed chicken for about half an hour. Next, heat the base of a tagine on your stove. A tagine (as I'm sure all you Sunday Times and Observer readers know only too well) is a decorative Moroccan clay cooking pot, which you should be able to buy easily enough online, or of course, from Morocco itself. It's a sort of cross between an earthenware cooking pot and a clay pan. Please bear in mind that it's essential to buy a metal "heat diffuser" to place underneath it, otherwise the tagine will almost certainly crack. The conical funnel bit (or lid) heats the food from all sides.
The tagine will get blisteringly hot: you bring the piping hot tagine to the table and your friends will be amazed and delighted as you whisk off the top to reveal the sizzling chicken tagine beneath. The tagine is then served directly from the pot. I'm also tempted to buy one of those rather chic, but pricey, Emile Henry tagines, which you can buy on amazon. Expensive, but much more convenient, as there's going to be no need for the diffuser.
Add a dash of sunflower oil to the base of the tagine and warm it through. Throw in the marinated chicken and brown. Rinse the Preserved Lemons, scrape off any remaining pulp from the inside and cut the skin into thin strips. Scatter over the chicken in the tagine.
Add a little water. Place the lid over the tagine and leave to simmer for an hour. Check from time to time that it has not dried up, and if it's in danger of doing so, add some more water. About fifteen minutes before the cooking time is up, add the de-stoned green olives. Check the seasoning and scatter with freshly chopped mint. Serve with cous cous.
An extremely simple, but effective dish, courtesy of Azziz of the Riad Enija, Marrakesh.