Baked Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

I had intended this post to publish last week with the idea that I could write it on our Spring Break road trip. We were planning a trip to Portland and Seattle and I figured I’d have about 18 hours of time, a little less maybe because I would be driving some of the time, but still enough to get down a post. 

The days leading up to our departure were busy for me. I had an event 2 days before we were headed out and a busy week before that. I had no time to pen a post. Trying not to skip a week, I decided to hurriedly edit my photos and upload them to WordPress, at least they would be accessible to me once I got a chance to start writing. 

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

So, yes, you can see all that went really smoothly. The only thing I managed to do on our long drive was to write up the recipe. As for the rest of the writing, I was way too distracted by all the beautiful and changing scenery on our trip to get very far.

This was my first time driving to the other side of The Rockies, and to Portland and Seattle. The change in terrain, the mountains, the geology, all of it was just incredible. Oregon and Washington are absolutely breathtaking States. The changing landscapes, their lushness, the greenery there is beautiful, and of course, the Pacific Ocean. Colorado is still pretty grey and wintery, so it was nice to life and colour! In fact we had a huge snow storm the day we were leaving and it was a complete white out as we headed out. The weather put us back a few hours as the conditions were quite horrible trying to get out of Colorado.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

I couldn’t believe all the green and lushness once we entered Oregon, it felt downright tropical! The spring flowers were blooming full force; the daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, tulips and all the cherry blossoms. The weather was rainy but not cold, so it was really pleasant.

This was really a quick whirlwind tour. I didn’t want to spend all my vacation time out of the house, so we did 2 days in Portland and 2 days in Seattle. It was just the right amount of time. We got a chance to spend a few hours in Salt Lake City and visit the Great Salt Lake. All I can say is that Salt Lake City is an incredibly, beautiful city. It is nestled in the mountains and the views are just amazing. The city itself is spotless. I have never seen a more well kept, clean, organised downtown than Salt Lake City. I was also really impressed at all the churches and temples there, such absolutely, beautiful architecture. The Mormon Temple and the Temple Square left me quite speechless and there is a Catholic cathedral that is a sight in its own right. 

The Great Salt Lake surrounded by mountains

The Great Salt Lake surrounded by mountains

One of my ulterior motives to wanting to visit Portland and Seattle (besides Grey’s Anatomy) is coffee, of course. I wanted to try the coffee scene that started it all. I would’ve hit up so many more places if I didn’t have the kids along! I managed 3 in Portland, 4 in Seattle (none which were Starbucks…yuck) and one in Salt Lake City.

I’ll talk about the coffee and the places I visited in my next post, but let me say this, there’s no need for me to leave Denver for coffee. From what I tried, we are doing a great job right here in Colorado with our local coffee scene and we have some amazing coffee roasters right here in our back yard. I won’t be rushing off on a coffee tour again anytime soon.

In Portland we spend time in their downtown area which is by far the liveliest one I’ve seen! Restaurants galore, China Town, shopping, theatres and the water front; a lot goes on there. We shopped a little (they have a Doc Marten store, Denver doesn’t), tried a couple of restaurants and walked the water front. The next day we headed to the coast and stopped by Tillamook Cheese factory on the way. Of course, we couldn’t go to a cheese factory and not eat, so after sampling cheese, we had lunch at their cafe. Grilled cheese, tomato soup and mac and cheese all around. Lunch was fantastic!

Sampling Cheese

Sampling Cheese

After lunch we headed to the Pacific Coast. We had promised the kids we would stop by a beach. The weather was cold, wet and incredibly windy but we went anyway. It was exhilarating; the wind, the rain and the cold, cold ocean! I did not intend to get wet but as I was busy taking photos with my daughters, a wave came up behind me and washed over my ankles and shoes. Oh was it cold! I was already wet from the rain but now my jeans were wet, as were my shoes and socks inside! After about 30 minutes we decided it was enough since the waves were getting stronger and stronger and the wind was picking up. We washed off the sand as best we could and headed back to Portland and our hotel. There is sand still everywhere in my car, memories of a fun trip I guess 🙂

Blustery beach!

Blustery beach!

In Seattle, of course, we had the obligatory stop at Pike Place Market. Wow, that place has EVERYTHING. It is a foodie, blogger, cook, chef and generally anybody who likes to eat, paradise. We ate our obligatory fish and chips, and hit up the Le Panier patisserie for some delicious French tarts. A stop at the coffee place for some cappuccino (not Starbucks) and we were set.

Fish and Chips from Jack's

Fish and Chips from Jack’s

The next day we went to the Market again, but also did a little trip to Puget Sound, and a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. I think we walked over 10 miles in Seattle. I can’t talk about Seattle without mentioning MT Rainier. We only saw it while we were driving into Oregon because the rest of our time there, it was raining and foggy and we couldn’t see it at all. What little I saw of it on our drive, I don’t know how people in Washington and Oregon get anything done, it is mesmerising. I could not keep my eyes off of it. It looms in the distance with such grandeur and presence. I’m sad I was not able to get any better photos of it than what I got while driving but I’m glad I got those. 

MT Rainier

MT Rainier

Anyway, so that was our trip, short and sweet with plenty of time to rest at home after. Now, it’s back to work. I still have a week or two before I have any major events so I’m throughly enjoying my time off. Poor hubby went back yesterday and he was just not in the mood. We’ll get back into our rhythm soon enough.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

On to the recipe, this is another one that I promised clients I would post. It’s quite the favourite and delicious too if I do say so myself. It is Moroccan flavoured and is a take on the lemon and olive tagine. To make my life easier when feeding a crowd and also trying to demo ovens, this oven method makes it so much easier. It tastes delicious, the chicken is moist and flavourful. You can increase the broth a little to make it more stew like and to top off couscous, but I like to keep the chicken crisp on top and not submerged. It can be served with or without couscous but I usually tend to serve it with cumin roasted carrot salad and steamed parsley potatoes.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives

Baked Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives


Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 servings

A Moroccan style and flavoured baked chicken dish with preserved lemons and olives.
  • 4 pounds / 2KG chicken pieces (with or without skin) or chicken thighs or boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup mild harissa paste plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • A cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small preserved lemons, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • ¾ cup Castelvetrano olives
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Parsley
  1. Marinate chicken with the harissa paste.
  2. I used a ½ cup of mild harissa. If your's is a spicy one, cut back to a few tablespoons or to your taste.
  3. Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, slice the onions and the preserved lemons.
  5. Preheat oven:
  6. Conventional oven: 400F/200C
  7. Convection oven: Convection Roast or Pure/True Convection 375F/180C
  8. In a large sheet pan, (18" x 15") scatter the onions evenly.
  9. Lay the marinated chicken over the onions.
  10. Scatter the chopped garlic in between the chicken pieces.
  11. Add the 2 cups of broth or water.
  12. Add 2 tablespoons of harissa, stirring into the chicken broth in between the chicken pieces.
  13. Drizzle the olive oil all over.
  14. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes/conventional oven or 30 minutes/convection (fan) oven.
  15. Take out the tray of chicken, it should be browning now, add the preserved lemons and the olives to the tray; distributing them evenly through the tray.
  16. Add more liquid (water or broth) if needed, there should be a a generous amount of liquid but not so much that the chicken is swimming.
  17. I like the chicken to brown on top with broth underneath to pour over the couscous.
  18. Place back in the oven and allow to brown further, another 15 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through and doesn't run pink juices when cut.
  19. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
  20. Serve with couscous or rice on the side.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives-

I do hope everyone who celebrates Easter had a lovely one. Our day off was quiet with a trip to see the new Batman and Superman movie followed by a thorough cleaning of my car, sand is still everywhere. We fried up some chips and had fish tacos for dinner, and lamented the end of our vacation time. Oh well.

Hope you had a lovely weekend and Spring Break if your had yours last week like we did.

  1. I see that you are Grey’s Anatomy fan:). So glad you guys got to drive around the beautiful places. Looks beautiful and so does this chicken, so fresh and amazing.
    HOpe all is well dear.

  2. Gorgeous post! Your trip looks like it was so much fun! Love the photo of you both at the beach, despite the blustery winds and cold (and those chips from Jacks! YUM).
    As for this chicken dish? Love the photos and I’m glad that we eventually got to see it in all of its glory. I’m in love with preserved lemons and actually made something similar yesterday for dinner. The olives and lemon add such fabulous complexity to the dish, and how good is harissa?! YUM (again) xx
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  4. BEautiful chicken! I purchased some preserved lemons and I haven’t been brave enough to use them yet! I think this will be the defining recipe!

  5. What a beautiful dish – I have never used Castelvetrano olives in Moroccan cooking. That is a brilliant idea!

    Your trip the Pacific NW looks amazing – I love that area and, while it felt tropical to you, it looked really, really cold to me! 🙂

    Glad to see you back online. I have missed you!

    • Thank you David! Castelvetrano work brilliantly! I love those olives. I just remember sitting at the hotel in Portland and they had a little waterfall outside and I could hear the water falling. All the lushness and the sound of water just had the sound of tropics. It was not very cold so it felt really pleasant.
      I have missed all of you as well!! xx

  6. Oh what a wonderful trip you had. I am envious…..I really would love to visit Seattle one day. Especially the Pike’s Place Market….I hope you will be posting some photos of that soon. This chicken looks amazing and I love roasting chicken with citrus. So good to see your smiling face! Will look forward to more about your trip! : )
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    • Thanks Anne! I’ll try to get some photos up. I couldn’t use my Canon because it was raining the entire time so all my photos are from my phone. I’ll share the good ones!

  7. I love road trips. And thanks for sharing your photos. Isn’t that Great Salt Lake incredible? I saw it for the first time last month. Jaw dropping. And that white plate with the scalloped edges? I have two just like it, different sizes. Somewhat antiques you know. They were my mom’s. This recipe is a combination that I love. Pinning.

  8. So glad you and your family had a great time in Salt Lake City. What a gorgeous place!
    This chicken is the type of dish that my family would enjoy to have for dinner. In fact, I intend to make it soon.
    Love also your website new design. Mine will also be changing a while from now — to reflect the new direction that I am heading to. FBTY as it is will be gone soon. Well, please say hello to your lovely family for us.

  9. Good to see you, Nazneen, and glad that all is well in your world. You sure did travel through some beautiful parts of the country, with the final destination being among the best along the West Coast. What a great trip to share with your family! Speaking of sharing, this chicken recipe sounds wonderful. I didn’t make preserved lemons this year but that can be easily remedied. It would be worth making a batch just to make this chicken, if for no other reason. Again, glad to have you back. WP is hardly the same without you. 🙂
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    • Thank you John! It is really beautiful there, I’m so glad we took the trip. We almost didn’t but decided we needed to get out and explore. The lemons are wonderful in this, I only add 2 because not everyone is accustomed to their brightness but you can definitely increase the amount. It is good to be back!

  10. We thought seriously about moving to Portland in the 90s. Love that area! Finally decided we couldn’t take the gloomy winters, but still sometimes wonder if we made the right decision. Anyway, good to see a post again! Love preserved lemons, so this dish definitely speaks to me. Thanks!
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    • I did! We did so much in such little time, but that’s how I love it! You exist on adrenaline 🙂 Those little red things are Peruvian peppers. Not a part of the dish but they taste so good, sweet and crunchy, and they add a lovely splash of colour. I always grab some from the olive bar when Im at the store. They taste like candy 🙂

  11. I am taking a break from my road trip write up to read yours. I love a good car trip. Maybe the next one we take will have to be to the Pacific Northwest as I have never been. My husband has visited many times for work and loves it. I love this chicken recipe. Chicken, olives and lemon are a wonderful combination. I can’t wait to try it.

    • You had a fabulous time by the looks of your photos. The bride is beautiful and your cake, wow! You did an awesome job, Karen!

  12. Hi Nazneen! Your comments on Oregon and your experience at the beach sounded a lot like mine when I first traveled to Oregon. I met my hubby in the kitchen of a French restaurant in a ski resort here in Colorado. He was from Oregon and since I had always been fascinated by Oregon, and he was so cute, we hit it off. A few years later we were married and I had my first experience of that very beautiful state. Driving down the highway in Portland in the Spring, I was very emotional seeing the scotch broom, the rhododendrens, the azaleas, all the amazing flowers. I thought it was paradise.
    Later, on one of our beach trips, a surprise wave overtook me, too, and I almost lost my camera in the ocean. All my visits to the beach in Oregon have been cold, windy, and wet. My husband, of course, loves the beach there. I wished for once the sun would come out. It’s the BEACH, after all.
    Now hubby has lived here in Colorado for many years. He thinks fondly of Oregon, but he says he’s a Colorado boy through and through. That makes me happy!
    I want to make this recipe soon. I assume I can find preserved lemons at Whole Foods?

    • Thank you Caterina! Loved reading your comment about Oregon. Beautiful State but man, that beach was windy!! Yes, you can buy the preserved lemons from Whole Foods. Thank you Caterina!

  13. That trip sounds amazing Nazneen! It looks like you enjoyed it a lot. I think that the cheese factory is a brilliant idea. I’d love it!
    Thank you for sharing this nice and easy recipe. I am always looking for some chicken recipes, for a change. And this one sounds perfect for little ones and grown-ups.
    Enjoy the week coming. Resting a bit is a blessing.
    ps – Your site is looking great this way.
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