Chicken with Olives

This excellent Middle Eastern dish is a particularly Moroccan specialty.


  • 1 large roasting chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound green or black olives
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more


  1. Wash the chicken and wipe it with a damp cloth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add about 3/4 cup water very gradually, stirring vigorously.
  3. Add onion slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, ginger, and paprika, and lay the chicken on top. Cook over low heat, covered, for 1 hour, turning the chicken frequently. Add a little more salt if necessary, and the finely chopped onion, and cook for 1/2 hour longer.
  4. Pit the olives. Put them in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, and leave for 1 minute. Drain off the water and repeat the process. This will remove excess salt.
  5. Add the olives to the pan and cook with the chicken for a few minutes only.
  6. Just before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish. Sometimes a few pickled lemon slices are added just before serving.
  7. Serve with plain boiled rice or couscous.

Serves 6.

Source: A Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

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