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Serves 4 to 6 Spice mix:

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or ¼ teaspoon ground cumin)

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

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¼ teaspoon sweet pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) or sweet Hungarian paprika

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled

Braise:

½ cup green olives in brine, not pitted

One cut-up chicken, about 3 pounds

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¾ cup dry white wine (or substitute water)

1 lemon, halved

¼ cup mixed chopped Italian parsley and cilantro, divided

½ jarred preserved lemon, optional (see Kitchen Note)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Hot, cooked couscous

1. To prepare spice mix: In a small bowl, stir together ginger, cumin, black pepper, pimentón or paprika, red pepper and saffron.

2. To prepare braise: In another bowl cover olives with cool water and set aside to soak.

3. Dry chicken pieces with paper towels; sprinkle lightly with salt. Heat oil in a large deep-sided skillet or shallow 4-quart braising pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add half of chicken pieces skin-side down and sear, without disturbing, until the skin is crisp and evenly browned, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown other side about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining chicken. Remove from pan.

4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan and return to medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring with a wooden spoon, and sauté about 3 minutes. Add spice mix and sauté for a minute longer. Pour in wine or water, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve browned juices. When liquid boils, put chicken back into pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer chicken gently 10 minutes. Turn and squeeze juice from half of lemon over chicken, and add half of chopped herbs. Cover and continue braising 20 minutes.

5. Drain and rinse olives. Crush, and remove pits. Rinse preserved lemon if using; chop into ¼-inch pieces. Add both to braise and turn chicken again. Cover and continue cooking 10 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

6. Increase heat to medium-high and bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Taste liquid; add additional lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed. Add remaining herbs. Spoon over chicken and serve with hot couscous.

Times Kitchen Note: Jarred preserved lemons can sometimes be found in upscale supermarkets stocked with pickled items. We found Mustapha’s Moroccan

Preserved Lemons at Whole Foods.

From “All About Braising” by Molly Stevens