Crispy, juicy, spicy, and sweet….sign me up. This recipe for Moroccan roast chicken with figs, lemons, olives, and almonds is a wonderful hybrid between a tagine and traditional roasted chicken.
So, I was really craving a tagine, which is a slow cooked stew that originated in the north african region. Tagine stews typically have some type of meat or vegetables, mixed with olives, preserved lemons, almonds, and something sweet like plums or prunes. I wanted these flavors but I wanted more of a roast chicken dish with crispy skin, and voila…this dish was born.
- Organic chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks, skin on or off is fine)
- olives (I used kalamata, but you can use any kind you’d like)
- fresh figs (or dried)
- almonds (preferably unsalted)
- 2 organic lemons
- 2 tsp of cumin
- 2 tsp of paprika
- 1 pinch of cayenne
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp of turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- avocado oil (for marinade and grill pan)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat up a grill pan on the stove to medium-high heat. (Note: the searing in the pan is not necessary; I just wanted to ensure crispy skin on the chicken, so I took this extra step. If you don’t want to take this extra step, just ignore everything regarding the grill pan and go straight to putting the chicken in the oven)
Take your chicken pieces and in a big bowl mix them with avocado oil (enough to coat them) salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, and black pepper. Make sure the pieces are coated in the oil and spices and let this marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, cut up one lemon into thin slices and line the bottom of your pan with them (I used a classic 9 by 13 inch glass pan). These lemons will cradle the chicken and infuse them with that great lemony flavor and they will get so roasted that they will soften and can be eaten with the chicken.
Make sure your grill pan on the stove (or regular pan) is very hot (medium high heat) and coated with avocado oil and then put the chicken on for about 3-4 minutes on each side to sear them and brown them up to ensure they get crispy while locking in the flavor. When finished, set them aside.
Here is the chicken ready to go into the oven:
Next, add the chopped figs, olives, almonds, and cilantro throughout; and more lemon slices if you’d like, plus squeeze lemon juice on top of the chicken. Put the chicken into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Can be eaten with any sides of your choice, I chose cauliflower rice and some dairy-free tzatziki. Make sure to spoon all of the cooked olives, almonds, figs, lemons, and juices onto your chicken.