Cardinal Cookbook: Sarah Faik’s preserved lemon chicken with green olives


Keira Saavedra

Recipe cover for preserved lemon chicken with green olives. Follow along and try Sarah Faik’s favorite dish.

Cardinal Cookbook is a Cardinal Times series that will share recipes that are special to Lincoln students. If you have a recipe you want to be featured, email [email protected], or The Cardinal Times at [email protected]

Sophomore Sarah Faik’s recipe for preserved lemon chicken with green olives is a family favorite. Faik looks forward to whenever her dad or family in Morocco makes it.

This recipe has been passed down through generations of Faik’s family. She enjoys all of her family members’ renditions. 

“For my whole life, I’ve known this recipe. This is a classic Moroccan recipe that my grandma and her grandma have been making for generations,” Faik said. “My dad learned the tips and tricks from my grandma, but adds his own touch.”

Faik’s favorite part is the flavors. She loves how they blend together to create the dish. 

“I love the flavor of the preserved lemons and how tender yet nicely colorful the chicken is,” she said. “The chicken mixed with the sauce and eaten with bread tastes delicious and [is] mouthwatering.”

When visiting her family in Morocco, Faik makes sure this dish is the first thing she eats when she gets off of the plane. 

“Every summer, I ask my grandma to make this meal for me,” Faik said.



1 whole chicken 

1 large preserved lemon (or 2-3 small preserved lemons)

Pinch of saffron 

1 tsp ginger 

1 tsp salt 

2 tsp pepper 

1 tsp coriander 

1 tbsp aged butter (Ghee)

1 cup of castelvetrano green olives

2 large yellow onions 

6 cloves of minced garlic

3 tbsp lemon juice 

3 cups of chicken stock 

3 tbsp of olive oil  

1 tbsp softened butter

Salt for cleaning chicken

White vinegar for cleaning chicken

Water for cleaning chicken 



  1. Clean the chicken very well with salt, white vinegar and water.
  2. Let it dry completely. 
  3. Bring the olives to a boil and let them stand in the water until called for. 
  4. Prepare the chicken seasoning (chermoula) in a bowl.
    1. Add the garlic. 
    2. Take the pulp (meat) of the preserved lemon, mince it and add it. 
    3. Add the lemon juice. 
    4. Grind the saffron using a mortar and pestle until it becomes like a powder and add it. 
    5. Add 1 tsp of the pepper. 
    6. Add the ginger. 
    7. Add the coriander.
    8. Mix all the above ingredients until they become like a paste.
  5. Rub the chicken with the chermoula paste all over, even inside.
  6. Soften the aged butter, and rub it all over the chicken, even inside.
  7. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least two hours, or the chicken can stay overnight in the fridge if desired. 
  8. Once the chicken is done marinating, put it in a big pot with one cup of chicken stock.
  9. Let it cook until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 45 minutes, on medium heat. 
  10. Remove the chicken from the pot. 
  11. Next, to prepare the sauce, start by dicing the onions.
  12. Add the onions to the pot where the chicken cooked with the leftover liquid. 
  13. Add the skin of the preserved lemons. 
  14. Add the rest of the pepper (1 tsp).
  15. Add the salt. 
  16. Add the rest of the chicken stock (2 cups). 
  17. Add the olive oil. 
  18. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens and the onions have almost melted. 
  19. Add just the olives without their water (the water they were boiled in).
  20. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce if needed. 
  21. Once the chicken has cooled down, rub it with the butter just on the outside. 
  22. Heat oven to high broil. 
  23. Broil the chicken for 5 minutes on one side, then flip it to the other side and let it broil for another 5 minutes.
  24. Make sure the chicken doesn’t burn, but it’s a golden brown color. 
  25. Plate the chicken with the sauce. 
  26. Serve with a warm baguette.