Chicken Tagine with Green Olives

This is a variation on the classic Chicken tagine with lemons and olives – smothered with cracked green olives.

Serves 6 people

2 chickens, cut up into 6 pieces each
900 g (2 lbs) green olives
1 medium onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crashed
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon powdered cumin
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
3 tablespoons freshly chopped green coriander
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Wash the chicken in salted water and drain. Crash 4 cloves of garlic and make into a paste with 2 tablespoons of salt. Rub into the chicken and then rinse under running water until the chicken no longer smells of garlic. Drain and set aside.

Place the chicken in a 5-quart deep casserole over medium heat and add the oil, grated onion, remaining garlic, spices, herbs, salt and pepper and cook until the chicken is browned. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes – until the chicken is tender. Turn the meat often and add water whenever necessary.

While the chicken is cooking, stone the olives with a pairing knife. Cover with water, bring to the boil and boil for five minutes. Drain, cover with fresh water, bring to the boil and boil for five minutes. Repeat this process until the olives no longer taste bitter. Drain and set aside.

After 30 minutes, add the olives and lemon juice to the casserole and continue cooking until the chickens are very tender, nearly falling off the bone, and the sauce is thick. Transfer the chickens to an oven-proof dish and bake to brown.

To serve, arrange the meat on the serving dish, and spoon the olives on top of them. Adjust the seasoning of the sauce and pour over the chicken. Serve at once.