Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons

A Middle Eastern inspired recipe for spicy, spatchcock roast chicken with preserved lemons, tomatoes, onions and chillies. Serve with couscous or chickpeas.


Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons


Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons

Today’s’ recipe for Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons is one of my latest “to go to” dishes this summer…tender chicken with a spice infused crispy skin and roast tomatoes, onions and preserved lemons, it sings summer on all counts and especially when outdoor grown tomatoes are in season. It’s perfect dining for summer in the city, or the country and is so easy to prepare and cook. You DO need to engage in a little butchery before cooking the chicken, but spatchcocking a chicken is easy if you have the right tools, i.e a good pair of poultry shears or kitchen scissors.


Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons

To spatchcock a chicken you need a large cutting board and as I said before, a good pair of poultry shears or kitchen scissors…here’s my easy guide: Spatchcock the chicken by laying the chicken on the breast side, with the back facing you. With a pair of poultry or kitchen scissors, cut down either side of the back bone and discard it. Turn the bird over and using the palm of your hand, press down on the breastbone to flatten the bird. A chicken prepared this way cooks more evenly in the oven and also is perfect for the BBQ too. And, it makes it easier to marinate the bird overnight for an extra zing to the taste, as you can see below with my recipe for “Scarborough Fair” Spatchcock Roast Chicken.

AEG Spatchcock Chicken


"Scarborough Fair" Spatchcock Roast Chicken

Today’s recipe is Middle Eastern inspired, with flavours from the Maghreb, predominately the Arabic region of the Atlas Mountains and the coastal areas of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya, although the region used to incorporate Moorish Spain too. The food of the Maghreb comprises core ingredients such as couscous, chickpeas, fiery spices and aromatic spice blends, dates, preserved lemons, olive oil, olives, fresh vegetables and meat such as chicken, goat, lamb and beef. The tagine originates from this area and fruit is often added to savoury main course dishes, such as apricots, dates, lemons, oranges, sour cherries and figs.

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But back to today’s recipe for Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons, where the main spice used is a spice blend called Ras el Hanout, which translates as “head of the shop” or “top shelf” as we may say, as in the very best ingredient. The ingredient list is long in this spice blend and usually comprises cardamom, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chilli peppers, coriander seeds, peppercorns, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and dry turmeric. Some spices may be particular to the region, such as ash berries, chufa, grains of paradise, orris root, monk’s pepper, cubebs, dried rosebuds, fennel seed or aniseed, galangal and long peppers. (Ingredient list taken from Wikipedia)



Ras-el-Hanout


Image: Epicurious

My latest summer one-tray recipe using this spice blend is shared below, and do let me know if you make it and how you all liked it…it’s good to share! Have a great weekend, Karen 


Maghreb Chicken

Maghreb Chicken with Preserved Lemons

A Middle Eastern inspired recipe for spicy, spatchcock roast chicken with preserved lemons, tomatoes, onions and chillies. Serve with couscous or chickpeas.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, about 1.3 to 1.5kg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large beefsteak or assorted heirloom tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 preserved lemons, quartered
  • 2 small red chillies, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon Ras-el-Hanout spice mixture
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped coriander to garnish

Note

A Middle Eastern inspired recipe for spicy, spatchcock roast chicken with preserved lemons, tomatoes, onions and chillies. Serve with couscous or chickpeas.

Directions

Step 1 Spatchcock the chicken by laying the chicken on the breast side, with the back facing you. With a pair of poultry or kitchen scissors, cut down either side of the back bone and discard it. Turn the bird over and using the palm of your hand, press down on the breastbone to flatten the bird.
Step 2 Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. Place the spatchcock chicken into a large baking tray or tin. Drizzle the olive oil over the bird. Rinse the preserved lemons under cold water to remove any excess salt. Pat the dry and set them to one side.
Step 3 Arrange the tomatoes, onions and preserved lemons around the chicken in a single layer.
Step 4 Scatter the chopped chillies over the chicken and then sprinkle the Ras-el-Hanout over the whole dish, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 5 Roast in pre-heated oven for 1 hours, basting the chicken every now and then. If the veggies become too brown, cover with tinfoil and remove for the last 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the chicken skin.
Step 6 Remove from the oven, scatter the chopped coriander over the dish and serve with mixed salads, couscous and/or chickpeas.


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