One-dish Moroccan Citrus Chicken

I cooked this the other night for friends and everyone loved it (or at least said they did…) When I have guests, I love one-dish meals made in the oven: they don’t sit on the stovetop begging for attention or puffing out steam and they can be served right on time, in the dish in which they cooked.

I’d generally use chicken thighs rather than breasts for dishes like this, but I couldn’t get boneless thighs this time. Basting the breasts with the juices more than a few times kept them moist and my fear of bone-dry breast was avoided.

1 kilo free-range chicken breasts

3 medium peppers (I used yellow and green), sliced thickly

2 onions, cut into wedges

1 preserved lemon, skin only, rinsed and sliced finely

2 mandarins or clementines, sliced into thin wheels

1/2 cup green olives

2 Tbsp ras el hanout (I used Equagold)

Drizzle a good glug of olive oil in the base of a roasting dish and warm in the oven. Cut the breasts into single portions and roll in the ras el hanout to coat. Place all the ingredients in the warm roasting dish, grind over some salt and pepper, pour in a little water (no more than 1/4 cup) and place in the oven preheated to 165 degrees Celsius. Bake for about 45 minutes, but take it out at least three times to turn over and baste chicken pieces with juices. You should find the juices increase but if for some reason it’s running dry, just add a bit more water. Once chicken is cooked through but still moist, remove and taste for seasoning. You can then stir through some herbs of your choice – I used coriander but dill would work well here too. Serve with a nice big salad and  couscous or rice. I made yellow rice – caramelized onion, basmati and little vermicelli pieces steamed with turmeric.

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