Chicken with Lemons and Olives

Chicken with Lemons and Olives

2-3 chickens, whole or cut into pieces, with their livers
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp (roasted then freshly) ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup salad oil
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups grated onion, drained
1/4 tsp pulverized saffron
1/2 cup mixed, chopped fresh herbs (green coriander and parsley)
1 1/2 cups ripe “green-brown” olives, such as Royal-Victorias (or, in our case, Kalamatas)
2 preserved lemons
2 to 3 fresh lemons

The day before, prepare chicken according to the instructions above, then marinate the chicken and the livers in 1 teaspoon of salt, the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin, the spices, and the salad oil. Refrigerate, covered.

The next day saute 1/2 cup of the grated onion in the olive oil for about 1-2 minutes in a large pot or casserole, then add the chicken, the livers, and the marinade. Add the saffron, the herbs, and 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the chicken often in the sauce.

While the chickens are cooking, rinse and pit the olives. Set aside.

Remove the chicken livers fromt the casserole or pot and mash them fine. Return to the casserole or pot with the remaining grated, drained onions. Add water, if necessary. Continue cooking 20 minutes, partially covered.

Rinse the preserved lemons (discarding the pulp, if desired) and quarter them. Add the olives and the preserved lemons to the sauce when the chickens are very tender and the flesh falls easily from the bone. Continue cooking 5-10 minutes, uncovered.

Transfer the chickens to a tagine or other serving dish and spoon the olives and lemons around them. Cover and keep warm in the oven. By boiling rapidly, uncovered, reduce the sauce to 1 1/2 cups. Add the juice of 2 fresh lemons to the sauce in the pan. Add more salt (and more lemon juice, if desired) to taste. Pour the sauce over chickens and serve at once.