- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup rough chopped preserved lemon
- 1/4 cup rough chopped green olives
- 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Cooked couscous, for serving, recipe follows
Combine the saffron threads and water in a small bowl and allow to steep. In another small bowl, combine the kosher salt, black pepper, cumin and cardamom. Mix well, and season the chicken pieces on both sides with the spice blend.
Set a tagine or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the chicken pieces, skin side down, and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside while you cook the remaining chicken pieces. Remove and set aside.
Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves to the tagine and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock, saffron, raisins, preserved lemons and olives to the pan and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side down. Return the sauce to a boil, cover the tagine, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces to the other side and add the almonds. Continue to cook, covered, until the meat is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Garnish the chicken with the mint and serve over warm couscous in shallow bowls.