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  • Writer's pictureChef Kelly Unger

Chicken with Lemon & Olives -a bright and flavorful dish to help keep your sanity

If you don't like olives, you will love this dish. If you like olives, you will love this dish. I am not someone who enjoys eating olives on their own. Yet, they bring a joyful complexity of flavor to this dish. And I love anything containing lemons. This is an easy one pot (except for the rice) dish that is both bright and earthy, lifting your spirits and grounding you with a soul satifying spice blend. Let's travel to Morocco in the kitchen. It will be the only trip we can take for a while. Enjoy!

Chicken with Lemon & Olives (Djej M’Chermel)

Recipe adapted from Mediterranean The Beautiful Cookbook

Serves about 4 to 6, traditionally served over or with couscous, I always serve this over jasmine rice

1 whole chicken (3 to 3 ½ lbs) cut into 8 pieces (traditionally the liver and giblets are also used and mashed into the sauce), I use a mix of boneless thighs and breasts with bones and skin

1 ½ cups finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric or saffron threads, crushed (or both)

4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

¼ cup olive oil

4 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 ½ to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (I like lots of sauce

Zest and juice from 2 fresh lemons

Generous 1 cup pitted green, Gaeta or Kalamata olives

In a 12” saucepan or 10” soup pot, combine the chicken (liver and giblets if using) onion, garlic, paprika, ginger, cumin, turmeric (or saffron), parsley, salt, pepper and oil over medium-low heat. Warm gradually, turning the ingredients in the oil to coat for a few minutes, then add the chicken broth to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until almost tender, about 30 to 40 minutes (20 minutes for boneless meat or chicken breasts with bones).

If using chicken liver and giblets, remove them now and mash them well, then return to the sauce. Add the lemon zest, olives, cilantro, lemon juice and continue to cook for 15 minutes longer and until chicken is done. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice.

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