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Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken

This is a take on the popular Moroccan dish – lemon and olive chicken tagine. There is actually a recipe for this in my Moroccan cooking box that includes preserved lemons. This version uses regular lemons and is a recipe I saw on Netflix’s “Paleo Way” which I highly recommend watching.

I switched up the spices in the marinade a little from the show. I LOVE Ras El Hanout, so I used that. It truly is the QUEEN of all spices. The blend I use (for sale in my shop) uses 21 different herbs, spices and florals to create a rounded, subtle flavor profile that pairs extremely well with chicken. I also love all the health benefits I get from the spice blend – antioxidants, blood sugar reducers, and anti-inflammatories to name a few.

This recipe is pretty easy to make. You need a whole chicken – wash it and pat it dry with some paper towels.

Make the marinade with a handful each of chopped cilantro and flat Italian parsley. Add in 6-8 chopped mint leaves, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, and 2 heaping tsp of Ras El Hanout. Blend it all with 2 tbsp. of olive oil, salt, pepper and juice from one lemon. Slather the marinade all over your chicken.


Place the chicken in your roasting pan and stuff it with halved lemons. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the pan. Add 10-20 Kalamata olives, 2 quartered onions, 1 cup of chopped butternut squash and 4 chopped dried dates to the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until done (timing completely depends on the size of your chicken!) Enjoy!!

Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 handful chopped flat Italian parsley
  • 6-8 chopped mint leaves
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 heaping tsp Ras El Hanout spice blend
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one lemon
  • 2 lemons halved
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 10-20 kalamata olives
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • 2 onions quartered
  • 4 chopped dates
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Wash and pat dry chicken.

  3. Mix together ingredients cilantro through lemon juice to create a marinade.

  4. Slather marinade all over the chicken.

  5. Place chicken in a roasting pan.

  6. Stuff chicken with lemon halves.

  7. Optional - toss onions and squash in a little olive oil with salt and pepper

  8. Place remaining ingredients in the pan.

  9. Bake in oven until chicken cooked through.

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Preserved Lemon and Olive Chicken

Haven’t made any preserved lemons yet? No worries, click on the SHOP button and buy yourself some! I’m creating an online store with the hard to find ingredients required for ethnic cooking. I’m even making box kits for Moroccan and Persian cuisines, which would make great Christmas gifts. Do yourself a favor and order some saffron too – I bought it wholesale and the low price will make up for some of your shipping costs. So stay tuned and please be patient as I struggle through the technical issues to get the store up and running.

Now – on to the cooking! This dish is delicious and arguably the most popular of Moroccan recipes. It uses preserved lemons and the spice blend Ras El Hanout. I am selling both ingredients in my online store so don’t fret. Ras El Hanout is a blend of multiple spices and herbs and each recipe is slightly different and regional. My recipe blends 21 spices and herbs and has a very slight heat to it.

This recipe is traditionally cooked in a tagine, but a large oven proof dish, such as a dutch oven works just fine.

First you are going to make a marinade for the chicken. Mix together some garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, tumeric, salt, pepper, Ras El Hanout and vegetable oil. Rub it onto 6 chicken thighs. Let it marinate in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.


Heat 1/2 tbsp. of oil in a dutch oven on medium heat. Add in your marinated chicken and brown it on both sides.


Add the onions and cook until translucent and soft.

Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and cover.


Place in a preheated, 350 degree, oven for 40 minutes.

Place the dutch oven back on the stove and remove the chicken. Set the chicken aside someplace warm (like back in your turned off oven).

Simmer and reduce broth for 10 minutes.

Rinse off one preserved lemon. Remove the flesh and pith (white part) and thinly slice the peel.


Add the preserved lemon peel, olives, parsley and cilantro to the dutch oven. Stir and heat for 1 minutes.

Serve over the chicken and enjoy!

Preserved Lemon and Olive Chicken
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Ras El Hanout
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil divided
  • 2 large onions sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • peel from 1 preserved lemon cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup green olives pitted
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro chopped
  1. Mix together the garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin, tumeric, salt, pepper, Ras El Hanout, and 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil. Rub onto chicken thighs.

  2. Heat remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil in a dutch oven on medium heat.

  3. Add the chicken and brown on both sides.

  4. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  6. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick.

  7. Bring to a boil.

  8. Cover and move the dutch oven to the oven. Cook for 40 mins.

  9. After 40 mins, remove the dutch oven and place it back on the stove.

  10. Remove the chicken and set aside.

  11. Simmer and reduce the broth for 10 minutes.

  12. Rinse one preserved lemon. Remove flesh and pith (white part) and thinly slice peel. 

  13. Add the preserved lemon peel, olives, parsley and cilantro. Stir and heat for one minute.

  14. Remove from heat and serve over the chicken.