Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives



My trip to France and Switzerland with my family recently was exciting. I saw a salt mine, spent a whole day in Geneva by myself and managed to explore a lot of the city, went to Montreux and Evian and had a wonderful time in the castle-like town of Gruyère (cheese! all that cheese!). While in Evian, we ate a wonderful Moroccan restaurant and had great tagine. My sister and I shared the dish shown below with couscous. I didn’t manage to take a picture of what my mother had, but it was chicken cooked with preserved lemons and green olives. Et voilà.


This is my variation of the dish, since I have always loved preserved lemons (and I made a small jar just before I left for Kuala Lumpur, and returned just in time for the lemons to be ready!). I decided to not use too many spices, just the essential ones that I believe bring out the flavours of the chicken and lemons. It is simple to make – I decided to make it in my clay pots that I have recently bought. This dish only uses the oven – easy to assemble and just bake until cooked. If you don’t have oven-safe pots with a lid, a baking tray covered with foil would do just fine.

I only have 2 clay pots (and since I only cook for 2 people in this house), so this portion is for 2 hungry people. Increase ingredient amounts accordingly.


  • 2 whole leg of chicken – thigh separated from the drumstick,
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps of ground black pepper
  • 1 medium-sized red onion, sliced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 large preserved lemon (4 quarters) – pulp removed.
  • 6 -8 green olives, pit removed.preservedlemonchicken03
  • salt, to season.
  • 2-3 tbsps of olive oil (I accidentally used a lot more…)
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup of hot water


  1. Place the saffron threads into the cup of hot water, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. At the bottom of the baking dish, arrange the sliced onions and garlic.
  3. Marinade the chicken pieces with the ground ginger, ground cumin, ground cinnamon and black pepper, and season lightly with some salt.
  4. Place the chicken pieces on top of the onions and garlic.preservedlemonchicken04
  5. Roughly chop the preserved lemon and olives, and place into the dish (on top and around) with the chicken.
  6. Pour the saffron water into the dish on top of the chicken, and lightly cover the chicken with the olive oil.preservedlemonchicken05
  7. Cover the dish with the lid (or foil), and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid, and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes, to brown the chicken slightly. Check to make sure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  9. Serve with some couscous.preservedlemonchicken06

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