And The Magic Ingredient? The Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil!
As we near the end of Mediterranean Diet Month in May, we thought we would go out with a bang! If ever there was a dish from Morocco that combines the fabulous flavours of the Mediterranean with the colours of Morocco, it is chicken cooked in a tagine with the best extra virgin olive oil. This recipe also uses the simple but complimentary flavours of lemon and olives to leave you wishing it was Mediterranean Diet Month all year round!
What are The Health Benefits of Olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
There are so many proven health benefits from olives and the best extra virgin olive oils – many of which we take you through in greater detail if you visit us at Morocco Gold. But, there is one key component that contributes to a lot of the superpowers in the best olive oils: they are called polyphenols.
The polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil act as an antioxidant which means that these compounds minimize free radicals in the body. Antioxidants affect the human health in various way from improving body functions and digestion to skincare. Antioxidants can also fight off cell damage in the body, enhancing the body’s capability to fight off any diseases.
What are The Health Benefits of Lemons?
Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fibre, and plant compounds that give them a number of health benefits. According to MedicalNewsToday, lemons have no less than 8 key health benefits.
Lemons may aid weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease (including lowering stroke risk and regulating blood pressure), anaemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer. They have also been linked to reducing asthma, maintaining a healthy complexion and boosting the immune system.
There are even studies which link a lemon detox diet to weight loss. So, what are you waiting for? Why not celebrate the last days of Mediterranean Diet month the Moroccan way and tyry our Moroccan chicken recipe.
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil
- 1 chicken, 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces (or 3-4 lbs of just chicken thighs and legs, the dark meat is more flavorful)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- The rind from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed in cold water, pulp discarded, rind cut into thin strips (if you don't have preserved lemon, use whole thin slices of regular lemon)
- 1 cup green olives, pitted
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Marinate your Moroccan chicken in spice rub: Combine all the spices—paprika, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper—in a large bowl. Pat dry the chicken pieces and put in the bowl, coat well with the spice mixture. Let the chicken stand for one hour in the spices.
- Brown chicken pieces in tagine or skillet
- If you are using a clay tagine (if you have one, you must soak the bottom in water overnight before using), place it on a heat diffuser on the heating element to prevent the tagine from cracking, and place the Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the tagine and heat it on medium heat.
- If you do not have a tagine, you can use a thick-bottomed, large skillet with a cover. Heat the Morocco Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the skillet on medium high heat.
- In either case, sprinkle the chicken pieces very lightly with salt (go easy on the salt, the olives and preserved lemons are salty) and place skin side down in the tagine or skillet for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Add garlic and onions, cover and cook
- Lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and onions over the chicken. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Add lemon, olives, raisins, water, then cover and simmer
- Turn chicken pieces over. Add the lemon slices, olives, raisins, and 1/2 cup water.
- Bring to a simmer on medium heat, then lower the heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender.
- Stir in parsley, cilantroMix in fresh parsley and cilantro right before serving. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve the Moroccan chicken with couscous or rice.