This is one of those dishes you could happily eat once a week, so learning to make this braised chicken dish by rote will certainly have its value. It uses small and mild preserved lemons, so reduce the quantity you add to the recipe if you only have stronger ones.
- 1.5 kg (3½ lb) free-range whole chicken, jointed
- olive oil, for shallow-frying
- 2 onions sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 12 cm (5 inch) cinnamon stick, broken into 4 pieces
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks, or 1 x 400 g tin roma (plum) tomatoes, rinsed and cut into quarters
- 40 g (1½ oz) raisins, soaked in boiling water
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock (approximately)
- 2 small whole preserved lemons, finely chopped
- 2 handfuls coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- steamed couscous, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Season the chicken well. Heat a good glug of oil in a large ovenproof casserole (with lid) over medium-high heat and brown the chicken in batches. Remove the chicken and put to one side.
Add another splash of oil to the casserole. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes before adding the garlic and the spices. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes, and when the onion is soft, return the chicken to the casserole and scatter the tomatoes and drained raisins over it.
Pour in enough stock so that it comes about halfway up the chicken, bring to the boil, put the lid on the casserole and braise in the oven for 1½ hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Remove the cinnamon, and then stir in the preserved lemon and the coriander leaves. Season and serve with the couscous.