Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives from the Source
Let’s learn how to make this incredibly flavorful Moroccan Chicken!
My Mom spent many years as a book and magazine editor, some of which were focused on food writing. She had some cookbooks lining our shelves, not many, but the ones that she had were cherry picked. She is gone now and it never actually occurred to me to ask her if the books she chose were, in part, because of the writing style.
I do know that they were chosen for authenticity. So when I wanted to make a low FODMAP version of Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives I knew that I would go to my shelves and look for my Paula Wolfert books.
How Many Books is Too Many?
Now, I must admit that I do not have the restraint that my Mom had. Or maybe it is simply a logistics thing because she lived in a NYC apartment and I have a country home, but the last time I counted my cookbook library was at about 2,000. Yes, bordering on hoarder scale but what can I say?
I read cookbooks like they are novels. There are stacks in the bathroom and stacks next to our bed. A special stack sits on my 6-foot butcher-block counter in the FODMAP Everyday® Test Kitchen and another in the Photography Studio.
Let’s Go To Morocco
Paula Wolfert is regarded as one of the culinary world’s foremost authorities on Moroccan cooking. It is her take on Preserved Lemons that inspired that recipe as well. Alice Water of Chez Panisse once said that Paula was at once both “sensual and scholarly” and I couldn’t agree more.
Her recipes are steeped in sense of place always accompanied by colorful descriptions of locale and ingredients.
Her recipes explode with flavor and they always work. And for me they always bring a sense of wonder. It is from reading her books and cooking her food that I have experienced a kaleidoscope of new tastes right in my own kitchen that have excited my palate and intrigued my mind.
My father was a world traveler and spoke 8 languages; he always said Morocco was his favorite place of all to visit.
The Aromas of Morocco
Look at the combination of ingredients in the recipe below. The blend of spices – saffron, turmeric, cumin, ginger and cinnamon – might seem unusual. Combined they are indeed heady and fragrant but they are also perfectly balanced by the acidity from the Preserved Lemons as well as lemon juice.
This is one dish that I do not salt at all, which is highly unusual. The salt from the Preserved Lemons and the two kinds of olives is plenty. You can of course salt before serving if you like, but restrain yourself from salting the dish early on.
Creating A Low FODMAP Version of Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives
The classic rendition of this dish uses a fair amount of onion and garlic but that was easily remedied with Garlic-Infused Oil and a combo of scallion and leek greens. In the end this recipe was based upon Paula’s writings as well as the one my Mom and Dad made when I was growing up.
It is in this way that we can continue to enjoy foods of our childhood and our lives, while taking care of our bodies and staying within low FODMAP diet guidelines. Note that you do need some time for the chicken to marinate, so plan accordingly.
Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives
The enticing flavors of Morocco in a one-pot chicken dinner.
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Garlic-Infused Oil, made with olive oil or purchased equivalent, divided
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds (1.4 to 1.6 kg) of chicken pieces, skin on, bone in (I used a total of 4 thighs and 4 legs)
- 1 cup (72 g) thinly sliced and chopped leeks, green parts only
- 1/2 cup (32 g) thinly sliced scallions, green parts only
- 1, 3-inch to 4-inch 7.5 to10 cm cinnamon stick
- 1/4 cup (34 g) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 1/4 cup (34 g) pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, halved
- 1 preserved lemon, cut into 1/4-inch (6 mm) strips, pulp and all
- 1 cup (240 ml) Low FODMAP Chicken Stock, homemade or purchased equivalent
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Combine paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric and saffron in a large non-reactive mixing bowl and use fingertips to crush saffron threads and combine spices. Add several generous grinds of black pepper and 2 teaspoons of the Garlic-Infused oil and combine into a paste.
Add chicken pieces and coat them well with the spice paste. I like to use a silicone spatula to spread it on all sides of the chicken. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and even up to overnight, in which case cover with plastic wrap.
When ready to cook, place remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken, skin side down, until nicely browned and the skin begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Brown second side then remove chicken to a platter. Turn heat down to medium, add leek and scallion greens and sauté for a few minutes until softened. Bury the cinnamon stick down in the leeks/scallions then place chicken evenly spaced back into pan, skin side up. Scatter both kinds of olives around the chicken, then add sliced preserved lemon scattered here and there as well. Pour stock over all as well as lemon juice.
Cover, bring to a simmer and cook until chicken is done, about 25 minutes. Chicken is ready to serve but the flavors even improve after being refrigerated overnight. We like to serve this with rice, but you could try quinoa as well. Garnish with chopped parsley right before serving.
- As with any recipe, read it though to familiarize yourself with the process. You will have to make the Preserved Lemons, so that should be completed first.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.
Looking for more low FODMAP chicken recipes? We have put all of our favorites in this collection:
This article was originally published on FODMAP EverydaySaveSave
Tell Us What You Think
14 comments for “Low FODMAP Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives”
If you have ever doubted Dede’s genius… this recipe will cure you! My father professes to “hate cumin” and “strongly dislike saffron” and, while I try to cater to my parents’ preferences, I also want to expand their palates. Folks, my father LOVED this dish, as did my mother! The spices are perfectly blended so no one overshadow the others, building pure deliciousness.
I used jarred preserved lemon; I picked it up on sale some time ago. However, for the next go-around with this dish, I will preserve my own lemons since they’re so easy to make. I detected something in the jarred version for which I didn’t care. I used 8 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and the amount of marinade, as written, was sufficient. I think next time I may up the marinade spices and olive oil by 0.5 (1.5 tsp sweet paprika, 0.75 tsp cumin, 0.75 tsp ginger, etc.) to get a healthy slather on all the pieces, but leave the other ingredient amounts in the recipe the same.
Go ahead, try this dish… It is fabulous!!
OK Barbara-Ann, this is heady stuff to be reading at 7:30 am. I am not sure I have ever been called a genius so early in the day 🙂 In all seriousness, this warms my heart. To know that you are enjoying your time in the kitchen – and sharing your homemade meals with family to a positive reception. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for friends and family and seeing them enjoy themselves and I can see that you are cut from the same cloth. I am so happy to be part of your low FODMAP journey. And more recipes to come!
Wow, what a fabulous dish! We are still talking about it. Bursting with delicious flavor and a beautiful presentation. Thank you for proving that there can be life without garlic and onions. There were five of us, one on a strict FODMAP diet. I quadrupled the amount of paste for eight large bone- in skin on chicken thighs, and marinated overnight. Used Spanish smoked paprika (sweet/dulce) and fresh ginger in the paste. No saffron as I don’t like it. Maybe I’ll try with it next time. Added extra greens, olives and preserved lemon (from a jar) to accommodate the chicken. One cup of chicken broth was perfect. Cannot wait to make this again.
I need to get another batch of preserved lemons going! Your description got even me salivating LOL. We are so happy to know that we are “in the kitchen” with you, helping you navigate the diet deliciously. Thank you for writing. It means a lot.
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! It was a crowd pleaser and allowed me to eat low fodmap without anyone else noticing or suspecting any lack in flavor!
I was just diagnosed with IBS and found the fodmap diet overwhelming at first, but your site is very helpful in navigating how to incorporate bold flavor without hurting the tummy. Thank you, yum!
YES! Thank you for your note. For those who are wondering, this IS the perfect kind of dish (and we have many) that proves that you aren’t eating “weird diet food”. NO ONE will know this is anything but a fantastic chicken dish! Company worthy.
This looks so yummy! Do you think it would work with skinless thighs? Unfortunately I think fat may be a non-fodmap trigger for my stomach.
There is so much flavor in this recipe I do think you could give it a try – and then let us know to help others!
Update: this worked perfectly with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This is exactly the recipe I need in my life; very flavorful and keeps well. Thank you so much!
Thank you for letting us all know. I might give this a go next time. Love juicy thighs.
I’ve never commented on an online recipe before, but holy moly, this was incredible.
My partner is FODMAPs intolerant, and it’s always nice to find a recipe that tastes incredible without making him ill. Highly recommend. Thanks so much!
Sarah, I am humbled! Thank you for taking the time to write us with the accolades! You have reminded me to make some preserved lemons soon!
This looks amazing, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to give it a try! Just a question about the amount of lemons, you mention to use 1 lemon in this recipe. Does that mean 8 lemon parts (adding up to 1 full lemon)? Since the preserved lemon recipe mentions to cut the lemons into eight parts.
Yes, you are correct.