CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMONS, ARTICHOKES AND OLIVES EMSHMEL (Djaj Mqualli) is a typical Moroccan tagine full of exotic flavours. Served with couscous and harissa it is a perfect family meal or served to guests.


Preparation Time10 MinCooking Time50 Min
Ready In1 Hr 0 MinDifficulty LevelEasy
Health IndexHealthyServings8
MethodMain Ingredient
Interest Group

Recipe Story

Last night I decided to make a long time favourite of ours - a Moroccan dish. It is a wonderful flavourful and easy dish to make. From start to table is less than 1 hour. Leftovers are great reheated, or bone out the boney parts and serve as a soup the next day. I make my own preserved lemons from our trees of Meyer Lemons and also Eureka lemons.


 Whole chicken/2 cornish game hens1 (Skinned)
 Onion1 Large, chopped
 Garlic4 Clove (20 gm), diced (Peeled)
 Fresh ginger1 1⁄2 Teaspoon, grated
 Saffron1⁄2 Teaspoon, crushed
 Cinnamon2 Teaspoon
 Berbere pepper1 Teaspoon
 Ground black pepper1⁄2 Teaspoon
 Olive oil1 Tablespoon
 Mixed chopped herbs1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) (Green Coriander And Parsley*)
 Ripe green brown ripe olives1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)
 Artichoke hearts12 Ounce (Canned Fresh Or Frozen)
 Preserved lemon1 , thinly sliced (Rinsed And Remove Any Seeds)
 Fat free chicken broth4 Cup (64 tbs)
 Whole wheat couscous1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 642 Calories from Fat 319

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 36 g54.8%

Saturated Fat 9 g45.1%

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 140.6 mg

Sodium 944.9 mg39.4%

Total Carbohydrates 41 g13.5%

Dietary Fiber 8.4 g33.7%

Sugars 3.2 g

Protein 43 g85.1%

Vitamin A 17.9% Vitamin C 23.2%

Calcium 12.2% Iron 26.4%

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet


Brown minced onions in olive oil, add garlic, stir and continue
cooking until soft. Add ginger, cinnamon, Berbere pepper, saffron,
place chicken in pot and the chicken broth. Bring to a low simmer
for 25 minutes, turn chicken over and continue cooking for another 25
minutes on low simmer.

While the chicken is cooking, rinse and pit the olives. (If they seem
a little bitter, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and drain.)
Set aside. I usually buy pitted olives which saves this step.

Rinse artichokes and add them to the chicken as well as the olives,
chopped parsley and cilantro, and thinly sliced preserved lemon.

While chicken is simmering place the 1 ½ cups of couscous into a fine
mesh sieve and rinse with water, and allow the couscous to sit in a
bowl to absorb the water for 10 minutes. Then rub the couscous
between your palms to make sure there are no lumps and layer into the
top of the couscoussier. Place over simmering chicken. Allow the
steam from the chicken to cook the couscous for about 10 minutes.

Return to the top of the couscoussier, when the steam again emerges,
let it steam for 10 minutes longer, it becomes tender and swollen.

Turn the grains again, rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil with your hands,
and air the grains again. Steam a second time, for 5 minutes. This
step can be done much later, just before serving. Stir in 1
tablespoon of butter that is cut into small cubes.

Transfer the chickens to a serving dish and spoon the olives and
lemons around them. Cover and keep warm. By boiling rapidly,
uncovered, reduce the sauce to 1 cup. Pour the sauce over the whole
chicken and serve at once.

Serve individual dishes of the steamed couscous. Cut chicken into
pieces and serve along side or on top of the couscous with sauce.
Offer Harissa for extra spice. Garnish with the minced parsley and