Guinea Hen Olive and Lemon Tagine

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After reading an article in the Times last fall about brine curing your own olives, I made a batch in a large mason jar. They're good, but I'm olived out at this point and I've been looking for ways to cook with them. Here's a 1 pot roast chicken that makes its own sauce which is great on a bed off cous cous or quinoa.

By cooking this in a low temperature oven in a sealed pot, there's no need to add any liquid. As the chicken and vegetables cook, they release juices which create a wonderful undiluted sauce. I use a Guinea Hen which is an African bird that is somewhere between a chicken and a pheasant. It's firm but tender meat is much tastier than the bland chickens we get in grocery stores without being too gamey. If you can find a fresh one at a reasonable price, give it a try sometime (I get mine at the Union Square Green market in NYC)

This is also a great base recipe to use for making other pot roasted chickens using other herbs and spices. A mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions) with some herbs de Provençe (rosemary, thyme, lavender and bay leaves) makes for a great French roast chicken that can be served with a crusty baguette. I usually make this on a weekend, then throw the bones and remaining meat into a pot with some water and make chicken stock which I then use throughout the week.

Guinea Hen Olive and Lemon TagineAfter reading an article in the Times last fall about brine curing your own olives, I made a batch in a large mason jar. They're good, but I'm olived out at this point and I've been looking for ways to cook with them. Here's a 1 pot roast chicken that makes its own sauce which is great on a bed off ...

Summary

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  • CuisineMediterranean

Ingredients

Spice rub
1 Tsp
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon
Ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon
Ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper
For tagine
1 4 pounds
Guinea hen or chicken
1 tablespoon
Good quality olive oil
1 tbs
Minced ginger
1 cup
Onions chopped
1 Cup
Other aromatics such as celery, fennel, or parsnips chopped
1
Cinnamon stick
1 wedges
Preserved lemon cut into
1/2 Cup
Whole green olives
1 tablespoon
Honey

Steps

  1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Clean the bird well and pat dry. Remove any extra fat then rub both the inside and outside with the spice rub. Tuck the wings under the bird.
  2. Heat a dutch oven or other heavy lidded pot big enough to hold the bird until hot. Add the oil and ginger, swirl, then add the bird, breast side down. Allow it to brown well on that side ,then flip it over, adding the veggies and cinnamon stick all around the bird. Allow it to brown on that side, then add the lemon, olives and honey.
  3. Cover the pot with a layer of aluminum foil (it acts as a seal), then put the lid on securely. Place it in the oven and cook the chicken till an instant read thermometer reads 175 when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh this should take about 75 minutes for a 4 lbs bird.
  4. Serve on a bed of cous cous or quinoa mixed with slivered almonds.

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