Moroccan Chicken with Saffron and Preserved Lemon


Chicken thighs full of spice and amazing scents to take you right to the Mediterranean. Great with quinoa or brown rice and lots green veggies.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
42 mins
Additional Time:
4 hrs
Total Time:
4 hrs 57 mins
4 chicken thighs



  • ¼ cup olive oil, or to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 4 large chicken thighs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

  • 1 white onion, chopped

  • 2 cups water, or as needed

  • 16 saffron threads

  • ½ preserved lemon, pulp discarded and thinly sliced

  • ¼ cup olives, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 artichoke bottoms, chopped (Optional)

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley (Optional)


  1. Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, turmeric, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper together in a bowl and pour into a resealable plastic bag or container. Add chicken, coat with the paste and seal bag or container. Marinate in the refrigerator, 4 hours to overnight.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Add chicken thighs skin-side down to stockpot and cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken thighs and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes more.

  3. Lower heat to medium and add water to cover chicken halfway, cover stockpot, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover stockpot, sprinkle saffron threads onto chicken, and top with preserved lemon slices. Replace cover and cook until chicken is no longer pink at the bone and juices run clear, about 5 minutes more. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Uncover stockpot and transfer chicken to a serving platter.

  4. Continue simmering liquid in stockpot until thickened to sauce consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon sauce over chicken; top with olives, artichokes, and parsley.

Cook's Note:

Ground cumin can be substituted for the cumin seed, if needed.

Cooking liquid can be served immediately after chicken is cooked: no need to reduce sauce if a thinner consistency is desired. Sauce can be served over the chicken or on the side.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of marinade ingredients. The actual amount of marinade consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

482 Calories
38g Fat
7g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 482
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 38g 49%
Saturated Fat 8g 38%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 1787mg 78%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 46mg 4%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 289mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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