There are some dishes that just can’t be reduced to a single serve. A whole roast chicken comes to mind. Yes you can make a whole one and freeze it but my freezer is not that huge and to be honest I am not that keen on some bits of the chicken. I have never really got on board with chicken thighs. I know they are supposed to be the most flavoursome bits but I don’t like that flavour.
My Mum does this amazing Moroccan Chicken with Lemons and Olives from Mediterranean: The Low-Fat No-Fat Cookbook: 200 fat-reduced recipes from the world’s healthiest cuisine by Anne Sheasby that I adore but it uses a whole chicken. I have made do with only having it when I go over to my parents’ house for dinner. But the flavours in it are just fabulous with the citrus sweetness and the salty olives. I could even forgo the chicken and just have the sauce with lovely bread to mop it up.
Last time I was over at my parents’ house we had the chicken dish and it got me thinking about whether I could do a modified single portion using cubes of chicken. I have become a big fan of baking chicken after making this sesame garlic chicken last year. I mean what was the worst that could happen? I would create a disaster and have to ditch it and have toast for dinner.
I am very happy to say that my modified version is almost as fantastic as my Mum’s whole chicken version. The whole chicken version is slightly better but not by much and most importantly that fantastic sauce is there. This is now one of my all-time favourite dishes to make for myself. And I modified it to include potatoes and because I used a dutch oven that could go from stove to oven it is a proper one pot meal. A bonus reduction in the washing up!
The downsides are that it is not a super speedy dish – but the cook time is not horrific. You could make it on a work night if you weren’t in a huge rush. And it is not the cheapest dish to make as the preserved lemons are a bit on the expensive side. The original recipe Mum has suggests you could use fresh lime or lemons but I am bit sceptical about whether it would taste as good. Having said that, the preserved lemons keep well and I am sure I will find another use for them so no food wasted.
Happy sauce mopping!
- 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- A pinch or so of salt and pepper
- 140g of skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 1/4 of a brown onion, diced
- 1/2 tbs of ginger, grated
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 2-3 wedges of preserved lemons, cut into bite sized pieces. My preserved lemons came in wedges but if yours don't I would use about three quarters of a lemon in total. My wedges seem to come from pretty big lemons!
- 1 potato, peeled and diced into cubes the same size as the chicken
- 8 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
- 1 tsp of honey
- 1 tbs of coriander, chopped (cilantro)
- Coriander (cilantro) for garnish
- Heat your oven to 190C (375F)
- In a small box mix the cinnamon, turmeric, salt and pepper.
- Toss the chicken in the spice mix making sure all pieces are evenly coated.
- Remove the chicken from the bowl and toss the potato in the leftover spices.
- Heat the oil on the stove on a medium to medium-high heat in a dutch oven (or another pot that you can use on the stove and in the oven)
- Add the chicken to the pot and seal, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes until it is soft and starting to brown.
- Add the ginger, potato and stock to the pot and bring to the boil.
- Pop the chicken back in the pot, cover and put in the oven for about 20 minutes.
- Take the pot out of the oven and stir in the olives and lemons.
- Drizzle the honey over the dish and put back in the oven, uncovered for 20-25 minutes until the lemons are starting to disintegrate.
- Remove the pot from the oven and stir in the coriander.
- Serve in bowls garnished with coriander.
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