Unfortunately, my first encounter with the Chicken-Olive-Lemon dish occurred only by smell.
It happened somewhere in the mid-1970s; During one of my high school summer vacations, I worked as a waitress at a guest-house on the Carmel, where I met Betty – a fine beautiful girl.
One day she invited me for a short visit to her parents.
On the way, she updated me, embarrassed that I will have a surprise when we arrive.
Despite the mystery, for some reason, I knew what it was all about – maybe because it was kind of “sisters fate.”
When we arrived, I was astonished – not because she, too, had a sister with Down Syndrome, but the fantastic unfamiliar smell that erupted from the tiny kitchen and took me by storm.
It turned out that Chicken-Olive-Lemon was cooking on the stove! Although I was exposed to many dishes and flavors at home, That combination was almost inconceivable!
I was ashamed to ask to taste it, and so for years, I wandered among piles of cookbooks in search of the recipe – but in vain!
After about three decades, I finally solved the riddle! Of course, it turned out to be the Spice Mixture that, together with olives, created the magic.
I will tell you all about it in another post😊
That unforgettable scent experience inspired me to make this recipe.
Hope you like it as much as I do ❤️
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt to taste
- 1 Large onion, peeled, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cloves sliced garlic
- 1-2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1½-2½ cups water
- 2 cups green olives, pitted drained and washed
- 2 tsp preserved lemon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ green chili pepper, chopped or a pinch of chili powder
- 2 tsp chopped cilantro
- instant couscous cooked as indicated on the package*
- cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, put all the meatballs ingredients and mix until the mixture is uniform, do not over mix.
- Form balls from the mixture, with wet hands, the size of falafel balls (about 3 cm in diameter), wet your hands every 2-3 meatballs so that the mixture does not stick to your hands; Place the balls in the baking tray.
- Place the meatballs in the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes, no more, to "seal" the meatballs.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan or skillet.
- Fry the onion for about 6-7 minutes, until the onion is soft.
- Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds.
- Add the rest of the spices and mix for a minute.
- Add the washed and drained olives and mix well.
- Add another tablespoon of oil, pickled lemon, 1.5 cups of water, lemon juice, chili, chopped cilantro, and stir.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to medium-low heat.
- Cook for about 20 minutes, check the water level every few minutes; gradually add water – so that we get enough sauce for the meatballs and the couscous.
- Add the meatballs we roasted earlier in the oven, pour about 1/4 more cup of water over them (so that their top – the part that sticks out of the sauce does not dry out. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for another 15 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly.
- To serve, place couscous on a plate, place meatballs and sauce on top, sprinkle chopped cilantro or parsley, and enjoy❤️