Tagine of Chicken with Green Olives and Preserved Meyer Lemon
Chef Zach Bell of Café Boulud – Palm Beach, FL
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 8 Servings

Tagine of Chicken with Green Olives and Preserved Meyer Lemon on StarChefs.comIngredients:

    Brined Chicken Breast:
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 8 organic chicken breast halves, with skin and bones

    Tagine Braised Chicken Legs:
  • 2 preserved lemons, quartered
  • 3 lemons
  • 6 Globe artichokes, hearts trimmed and cut into quarters, reserved in acidulated water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 chicken legs (about 4 pounds)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound gold pearl onions, peeled ½ pound (about 6) carrots, peeled and cut into oblique shapes
  • 4 stalks celery, peeled and cut into ½- by 1-inch sticks 1 bulb fennel, layers separated and cut into ½- by 1-inch sticks
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 (2-inch) pieces fresh gingerroot, peeled and crushed Spice sachet (1 Tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 Tablespoon white peppercorn, 2 Tablespoons ground tumeric
  • ½ Tablespoon ground cumin, large pinch of saffron, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 red dried chili peppers, 1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • ½ cup picholine olives, pitted and lightly crushed
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons mint leaves, chopped

    Vegetables and Chicken Breast:
  • Salt
  • 2 bunches scallions, white and light green parts only 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into ¼- by 3-inch sticks
  • ½ pound haricots verts, tipped
  • 1 recipe Brined Chicken Breast (from above recipe)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 head garlic, quartered but not peeled
  • 2 shallots, quartered but not peeled
  • 2 to 3 sprigs thyme

  • 1 pound couscous
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock or water
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • Lemons, halved (optional)
  • Red chile peppers, seeds removed and sliced (optional)

For Brined Chicken Breast:

Bring the water, salt, and honey to the boil in a large pot. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. (This step may be done up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

Put the chicken breasts in a non-reactive container or Pyrex dish. Refrigerate uncovered for 2 hours, to allow the moisture from the chicken to evaporate.

Pour the brine over the chicken and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Put the chicken in a clean, non-reactive container and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour. The air drying allows the skin to dry and ensures it will remain crisp and not stick to your pan.

For the Tagine Braised Chicken Legs:
In a bowl, cover the preserved lemons with lukewarm water. Let soak for 4 hours, changing the water every hour.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 300°F.

Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a medium bowl and add 2 to 3 cups of water. Keep the bowl close at hand. Remove the tough outer leaves of one artichoke, leaving the tender inner leaves. Using a small sharp knife, trim the base of the artichoke until no dark green areas remain and cut into quarters. Immediately drop the artichoke into the acidulated water to keep it from turning brown while you trim the other artichokes. Repeat with the other artichokes.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Sear until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. When the chicken is golden brown, transfer to a platter. Reduce the temperature to medium and add the pearl onions and carrots to the pot. Brown the vegetables lightly, while stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the celery, fennel, garlic, and ginger to the pot, reduce the temperature to medium low, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the sachet, drained artichoke hearts, preserved lemons, olives, and butter and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour over, stir to combine, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and reduce the liquid in the pot by three-quarters. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and season generously with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pot. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake for 45 minutes until the chicken is fork tender.

Gently transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large, warm platter; set aside and keep warm. Discard the sachet and strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a medium saucepan. Place the pan on the stove top over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce has been reduced by half.

Just before serving, whisk the crème fraiche, parsley, cilantro, and mint leaves into the sauce; taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables; set aside and keep warm.

For the Vegetables and Chicken Breast:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 425°F. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and cold water. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Season the water generously with salt. Add the scallions to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Using tongs or a strainer, transfer the scallions to the ice-water bath. Repeat with the yellow bell peppers cooking them for 2 minutes and the haricots verts for 2 minutes.

Rub the chicken breast liberally with the olive oil and season with pepper. Put the chicken breasts, skin side up, in a large roasting pan. Slide the pan into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature of the oven to 300°F. Bake for 15 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, shallots, and thyme and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Baste the chicken and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Remove the bone from each breast. Set aside and keep warm.

For the Cous Cous:
Spread the couscous in a shallow baking dish. Bring the stock or water to the boil in a medium saucepan and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the boiling liquid over the couscous and immediately cover with plastic wrap. Let the couscous steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Just before serving, toss with the parsley and transfer to a serving bowl.

To Assemble and Serve:
Cut the chicken breasts into slices and fan onto a large warm platter. Drain the vegetables and scatter over the chicken breasts. Serve the chicken legs and chicken breast family-style by passing the platters around with the herbed couscous. Squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle some chiles over, if desired.

Wine Pairing:
Palacios Remondo, Herencia Remondo, Rioja, 2006


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   Published: May 2006