This is a good time to make preserved lemons; they are easy to make and they keep them for months in a jar in the fridge. They add an appealing taste to your food. If you don’t already have them in your fridge, you can buy them from specialty food stores or online!
Rinse the chicken thighs, pat dry, and season well with salt.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, put the olive oil and butter. When hot, brown the chicken thighs, skin down at first. Turn and cool on other side. As they cook transfer them to a roasting pan. They should be snug but not touching each other. Into the pan, stir the onions and cook gently stirring from time to time until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the spices and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the lemons, cilantro stems, olives, another pinch of salt, and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Pour the onion mixture into the roasting pan. The mixture should not cover the chicken so that the skin is exposed and browns. Bake in a 375 degree oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Remove when the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter. Boil up the juices in the pan on top of the stove. Stir in the chopped cilantro and remaining butter. Add salt to and lemon juice to taste. Pour over chicken. Serves 8. MSR (Recipe developed by Heidi Krahling of INSALATA’S in San Anselmo.)
To prepare the couscous, heat the water, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the couscous grains into a 9™inch square baking dish. Add the hot water mixture and stir once to mix well. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and let stand about 10 minutes. Break up any lumps with a fork and fluff it with your fingers. The couscous can be kept warm over hot water for several hours, fluff it with a fork occasionally. Serves 6.
Cut each lemon into wedges, keeping them attached at the stem end. Place in a large crock. Pour the salt, and lemon juice over them with enough water to cover.
Cover. Refrigerate for at least one month, turning them over in the brine once in a while.
Note: Preserved lemons can be added to a fish cooked with onions, or a lamb stew, or in a salad with fresh tomatoes and black olives.
They keep for a year.