Chicken, Olive, and Lemon Tagine (Djaj Mqualli) over Sauteed Kale and Israeli Coucous

One night, Kevin invited some new friends over for dinner and I didn’t want to make anything complicated so I chose this gem.  It did come with some small challenges.  The first was that I didn’t know what “cracked olives” were!! I did some googling and found that they are as simple as putting the olives on a cutting board and smacking them with the flat side of the blade.  Also, I could not find preserved lemons!!! After going to 4 different stores and not finding preserved lemons, I decided to make up a quick preserve method and allow them to preserve  prior to making the dinner.  This actually made for a brighter lemon flavor as the stew cook down, which really made the dish!!  What better way to welcome new friends than with a dish that that is as bright as our budding friendship?
This entry is for a whole meal, not just the main course and it came together rather quickly, so don’t be daunted!!!
 IMG_8593

Ingredients

Optional: “Quick” Preserved lemons

4 lemons, washed, sliced into 1/4 inch slices and deseeded
1 C salt
4 C boiling water

Tagine
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 whole chicken legs cut into thighs and legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
12 tsp. crushed saffron threads
12 cups chicken stock
6 oz. green olives, cracked or 6oz pitted green olives
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 jarred preserved lemons, cut into slices (or use 4 “quick” preserve lemons from above)
Sauteed Kale and Israeli CousCous
2 C Israeli or Pearl CousCous
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, sliced
1-10oz bag of baby kale or precut kale, larger stem pieces removed
1/2 C vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro

Instructions

**Optional**Make Quick Preserve Lemons: The morning you are going to cook, place all lemon slices into a wide mouth, 1 quart mason jar.  Add salt, and enough boiling water to reach the neck of the jar. Cap the jar with the lid and shake the jar until majority of the salt has dissolved, if there are still a few in the container then that’s ok.  Let the jar sit and shake it periodically.  When ready to make recipe, drain entire contents in a colander.

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in an 8–qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onions to pot; cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add spices; cook for 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot with stock; boil. Stir in olives, butter, and lemons into pot, bake  until chicken is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. Make coucous according to package instructions, cover and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover, add parsley and cilantro, and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Combine couscous and sautéed kale, mix well.

To serve, spoon kale and couscous mixture into the center of plate, top with a piece of chicken. Spoon jus,  olives and several slices of cooked lemon over chicken.  Serve with reserved jus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *