Moroccan Chicken Salad

Adapted from John Gregory-Smith’s Orange Blossom & Honey

(If you don’t have a pestle and mortar, follow the directions at the end of the recipe to create the marinade for chicken thighs)

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ras el hanout
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil – divided
  • Juice of 3 lemons, divided
  • 800g skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, finely sliced (preferably on a mandolin)
  • 2 cups worth cooked, couscous, Israeli couscous or rice
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 preserved lemon, pith discarded and finely chopped
  • ½ cup green olives, whole or roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, roughly chopped

Using a pestle and mortar, mash the garlic cloves into a paste using the salt as the abrasive ingredient, once massed add the ras el hanut and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of ½ a lemon to the garlic mash. Place the chicken thighs in a bowl or dish with deep side, spread the spice paste all over the chicken thighs, cover the dish and allow the chicken to marinate for an hour in the fridge.

Place the chopped red onions in a large bowl, add the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt and allow to sit for five minutes. Add the thinly sliced fennel and 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss together, add the cooked, couscous, Israeli couscous or rice, chickpeas, preserved lemon, olives and herbs, plus the juice of a whole lemon, and mix, set aside.

To cook the chicken thighs, heat the broiler of your oven all the way, and place the rack at the top of the oven. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil, lay the marinated chicken thighs in a single layer and broil for seven minutes on one side, flip over and broil for a further seven minutes on the second side, cut through one thigh to make sure it’s cooked through. Alternatively, you can do this on a barbecue, griddle pan or a George Foreman.

Once the chicken is cooked through slice into thin strips, season with salt and squeeze more lemon juice on top.

Add the chicken strips to the salad mix in the bowl, taste and season with salt and remaining lemon juice and olive oil if needed.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you don’t have a pestle and mortar:
Mince the garlic, add the salt and using the back of large knife on a cutting board, rub the garlic and salt together until you have a fine paste, add the ras el hanuot and keep going back and forth with the back of the knife. Once you have a paste, place it in a small bowl add olive oil and lemon juice and mix well together before using the paste to marinate the chicken thighs.