Chicken can be pretty boring. But it's also pretty universal, so it's easy to find interesting chicken recipes that utilize all kinds of fun ingredients. This tagine-inspired dish from America's Test Kitchen uses typical Moroccan ingredients to make your chicken dinner a little more exciting. And it can be made ahead!
Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemon
1 1/4 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 strips lemon zest (each about 2 inches by 3/4 inch)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks; wings reserved for another use) and trimmed of excess fat
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)
1 3/4cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins, very large pieces cut into half-moons (about 2 cups)
1 cup Greek cracked green olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside.
2. Season both sides of chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy--bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot.
3. Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned at edges but still retain shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon water if pan gets too dark). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and very fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add thighs and drumsticks, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add carrots and breast pieces (with any accumulated juices) to pot, arranging breast pieces in single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to plate or bowl and tent with foil. Add olives to pot; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice; stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
TO MAKE AHEAD: The recipe can be prepared through step 4, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To serve, gently warm until the chicken is heated through, then proceed with the recipe from step 5.
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