Moroccan Roast Chicken With Preserved Lemons

Originally from:

Serves 4.

Note: we only made this because a friend gave us some pickled lemons, which we had no idea what to do with; having found out, it is really good: thanks Lynne!
Note: the chicken needs marinading overnight; in fact, pretty much all of the preparation can be done a day in advance.


For the chicken with rub:

For the sauce:


  1. Make a rub for the chicken by mixing together all of the rub ingredients.
  2. Use your fingers to get under the skin of the chicken all around, top and bottom, including the legs, keeping it in place but loosened from the body; sounds weird but it is actually really easy to do.
  3. Shove the rub in underneath the skin of the chicken using a long spoon, covering as much of the body as you can as evenly as you can, including the legs.
  4. Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, place it in a large bowl, rub some olive oil over the skin and leave it covered in the fridge overnight.
  5. Put all of the sauce ingredients except the lemon and olives into a saucepan and cook, covered, over a medium heat, for one hour, stirring occasionally to stop the onions sticking; add water or more oil if necessary.
  6. Mash the onions in the pan, with a masher or a fork, and cook for a little longer, until you have a paste.
  7. Put this onion goo in the fridge also: you are now prepared.
  8. The following day, cook the chicken uncovered for 2.5 hours at 160 C, basting every half hour with the juices.
  9. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a platter and pour the juices from the roasting tin, plus your pre-prepared onion goo, into a saucepan.
  10. Add the pickled lemon quarters and the pitted red olives to the pan, plus 3ish tbsp of water; simmer for 10 minutes to finalise the sauce.
  11. Pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter and serve.

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