Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives


1 whole chicken, skin on, cut into 8 pieces, or equivalent
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cubeb pepper (may substitute black pepper)
1⁄2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
1⁄8 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in a tablespoon of warm water
3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
5 cloves minced garlic
1 thumb fresh ginger, minced
11⁄2 preserved lemons, chopped, seeds removed (available at the Whole Foods olive bar and at specialty shops such as Sur La Table)
1 medium white onion, diced
18-24 pitted green olives (not canned)
1 bunch each flat leaf parsley and cilantro

In a glass bowl large enough to hold all of the chicken,  mix together a marinade of the olive oil, nutmeg, cubeb pepper, Cayenne, ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, allspice, clove, saffron, chopped parsley, garlic, fresh ginger and preserved lemons. Completely cover the chicken in this mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour.  (No salt is necessary, as the preserved lemons and olives provide plenty of salty tang to this dish.)

Place a drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of the tagine or Dutch oven and place the chicken, along with all of the marinade, in the cooking vessel. Next layer the onions, then the olives and finally the parsley and cilantro. Add 1/4 cup water and cover. Cook over medium-low heat until you hear the liquid in the pot begin to simmer. Turn the heat as low as you can while still maintaining a gentle simmer. Cook, covered (don’t peek!) for 90 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, replace the cover and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. The chicken should be falling-off-of-the-bone tender. Remove the parsley and cilantro bunches, and serve with couscous or flatbread to mop up all of the pungent, lemon-y sauce. Serves 6.

Note: If you have an electric stove, you will need to use a charger for your tagine, as the clay pot should not be placed directly on an electric burner.

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