The sauce in this recipe is full of aromatic spices but spiked at the end with chopped preserved lemon, which adds a tangy flavour and cuts the richness.
Recipe from “Pucker: A Cookbook for Citrus Lovers” courtesy of Whitecap Books.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) (see note).
Set a large cast iron pot or deep heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and watch for it to shimmer.
Pat the chicken pieces dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add to the heated oil and brown on all sides, taking care not to crowd the pot. (This may be done in batches.) Once browned, remove the chicken to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until they are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant.
Add the spices and sauté with the onions and garlic until fragrant and well mixed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the stock, scraping up any of the flavourful browned bits left on the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken to the pot and turn up the heat until the sauce just begins to boil, then cover and place in the oven to bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Roughly chop the preserved lemons until the pieces are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch big (3 to 6 mm). They don’t all have to be the same size; having some pieces slightly bigger and others smaller is nice when mixed in with the stew. When the chicken is cooked, add the preserved lemon, stir well and return the dish to the oven for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasonings, and then sprinkle chopped parsley or cilantro over, if using, and serve.
Note: Those with a little more time to spare may want to preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and cook the chicken for an hour, which makes it even more tender.