A special Christmas Day

No exaggeration, this was the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. And I ate it the Moroccan way too, that is, the chicken was placed in the middle of the table and everyone took their bit (no cutlery). I think it is an excellent way of breaking the ice and ingraining a deep sense of community since early on. Moroccan food philosophy is about sharing, about everyone doing things for everyone, not just oneself. And I think that’s brilliant.

Last year I had the priviledge of spending Christmas Day with my friend Amal and her Moroccan parents and they treated me to this among other delicacies. Through her I was introduced to Moroccan culture (and cuisine) and I became fascinated with it ever since.

I managed to learn a few Moroccan recipes along the way which I will be sharing with you.

Maybe it’s the fact that the chicken has to be cooked twice, first on the hob and then in the oven, the thing is, it just melts in the mouth. No disrespect to the other excellent chicken dishes I’ve had during the years but this one was outstanding and I never miss an opportunity of telling Amal to congratulate her mum on my behalf for it. I will literally be eternally grateful to her for sharing her chicken (and her recipe) with me.


Moroccan chicken


1 chicken (weighing about 1.5 kg)

3 onions, finely sliced

¼ glass of oil

4 garlic cloves, mashed

Salt and pepper

½ tsp. ginger (powder)

A few saffron strands

Water

1 tbsp. parsley and coriander, chopped


Decoration:


100g olives

Some lemon confit strands


Wash the chicken with the water and salt and then take out the innards, should it have any. On a medium heat seal the chicken in a pan together with the chopped onions, the oil, the garlic and the salt. Don’t overcook as you only need to colour them. Add the spices and continue to colour them until the chicken is golden on all sides.

Add one litre of water, put the lid and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Check if the chicken is well cooked, and then place the pan in the oven and cook at 220 C. Keep the sauce.

Place the olives in the pan together with the confit of lemon, the chopped parsley and coriander and reduce the sauce.

Serve the chicken with the sauce, decorated with the olives and the confit of lemon.

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