Marrakesh Chicken with Citron Confit

This is actually the dish that inspired the creation of Marrakesh Sunset in the first place. We'd gone out for a lovely Morrocan meal, and I fell in love with the Chicken Tagine, with Citron Confit, or preserved lemon. After its haunting my dreams for a couple weeks, I didn't just want it, I had to have it. So, I looked up a dozen or so recipes for similar dishes, spent several hours experimenting with the balance of the spices, and this delightfully simple dish as the result.

This would traditionally be cooked in a tagine, a shallow pot with a tall, cone shaped lid designed to seal in the goodness. The stew would be braised in the tagine until tender; then, the lid would be removed, and the pot brought to table. Since we don't all have the luxury of a tagine, the recipe here is adapted for the cooktop using a 4-5qt sauteusse, deep skillet or even a Dutch oven.

The recipe scales well, so feel free to double or triple it, increasing the size of the pan as needed. You may have to brown the chicken in batches.

Ingredients - serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • 4 Chicken leg quarters, or whole chicken, cut up
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Marrakesh Sunest
  • 1 Preserved lemon, rinsed and 1/4" diced (recipe)
  • 1 Cup Kalamata (or green, if you prefer, or both!) olives, sliced
  • 0.5 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 0.25 Cup sultannas
  • Chicken stock

Method - about 1 hour

Rinse and dry the chicken, and season it with salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.

In a 4-5qt sauteusse over medium high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan, and brown the chicken well, skin side down. Remember, Maillard is our friend. Browning the meat first will bring lots more flavor to the party. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onions and garlic, and cook until just golden.

Return the chicken to the pan, along with any juices.

Sprinkle with the Marrakesh Sunset, and fry briefly, being careful not to burn the spices.

Add the preserved lemon, olives, sultannas, and chicken stock to cover.

Bring to a boil, adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat and simmer gently, covered for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Add the cilantro, and serve family style over a platter of fluffy steamed cous cous.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

This is a family favorite, especially on a cold winter's night. It's quick and easy to put together, The flavors are deep and exotic, and will warm both body and soul. Serve with an off-dry white, like a nice Riesling, or a hearty, full-bodied Rhône style red.