This bright and earthy braise, adapted from Paula Wolfert's The Food of Morocco (Ecco, 2011; $45), is a regular on the cafe menu at Chez Panisse, in Berkeley. The restaurant cures its lemons the traditional way; for our shortcut, see "Speedy Preserved Meyer Lemons."
2 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (4 or 5)
1 pinch saffron threads
1 large onion, coarsely shredded on a box grater
1 cup pitted green olives, such as Lucques* or picholine
Mix garlic, ginger, paprika, cumin, pepper, and oil in a bowl. Ease fingers under chicken skin to loosen. Add chicken to bowl; rub garlic mixture under skin and all over outside. Chill, covered, overnight.
Preheat oven to 500°. In a small bowl, combine saffron with 2 tbsp. hot water and let sit 5 minutes. Set chicken, skin side up, in a deep 10-in. or regular 12-in. ovenproof frying pan. In same bowl used for chicken, combine onion, olives, and preserved lemon; put on top of chicken. Combine broth, saffron water, and turmeric in bowl and pour over chicken. Cover tightly with foil.
Braise chicken in oven, turning in sauce every 20 minutes, until tender when pierced, 60 to 70 minutes. Skim fat from sauce. Sprinkle chicken with cilantro and serve with couscous.
*Find Lucques olives at well-stocked grocery stores. To pit, set on a work surface, set flat side of a wide knife on top, then smack with your hand and pick out the pits. Find preserved lemons at well-stocked grocery stores or robertlambert.com.
Wonderful but time consuming! Complex flavors. Made the speedy preserved lemons although waited only 5 days to use them. Baked for 60 min at 500. Served it with a cold green bean/cous cous/baby arugula salad. I served the chicken right away but would suggest that you wait at least 5 min after taking it out of the oven.
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