Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemon | Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons

Many people have tried, and failed, to convince me to eat an olive.

To all you olive lovers out there, you’re probably shouting at me right now: I know, I know, they’re ‘delicious’. Hmm.

When a recipe requires olives, I just leave them out. Much to the dismay of my husband who is definitely in the olives-are-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread club.  When I told him that this would be the next recipe that I would cook as part of the Book Club, the first thing he said to me was “you are going to have to actually eat an olive to review it properly you know”. I knew he was right, and to be honest it was one of the reasons why I chose it. I needed to face my fear! And to be quite honest, just hurry up and get over it.

Diana Henry, the author of the fabulous book Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, suggests using four chicken breasts for the recipe, however I used a whole chicken, jointed.  It worked out cheaper, and Matt prefers the darker leg meat anyway.  Left to marinate in a fragrant mix of preserved lemon, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, cayenne and olive oil, my fridge smelt wonderful!

It was then a simple process of construction: browning the chicken, softening the onions and adding the stock before putting in the oven for it’s transformation into loveliness.



When this came out of the oven, I just died. How beautiful does this look?!

Served with couscous, and coriander, it smelt AMAZING. But I had olives on my plate. Eek!


You know, I had NO IDEA how much olives flavoured a dish!  Their perfume and deep saltiness had infused every single element, and I liked it! I just think of all of the things that I’ve made in the past, omitting the olives, and now realise just how much that would have completely changed the overall flavour. I think I’m going to have to revisit a few old favourites, but this time with the olives!


It’s fair to say I loved this.  The chicken was so moist, infused with the flavours from the marinade. And wow, that rich onion gravy with it’s strong flavour of green olive: a revelation. This recipe is a keeper.

Next Week: Lamb And Orange Khoresh


I discovered at the start of the month that I somehow ended up buying two copies of Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons.

I don’t really need two copies of this book! So for a chance to win the paperback copy, all you need to do is follow me on twitter @letseatfirst and look out for the competition details.

The winner will be chosen at random on the 30th April 2015, and notified directly on twitter. Good luck!

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