This recipe is very typical of Moroccan Jewish cooking. The flavor of fresh lemons, combined with olive oil and black olives makes for a bright and memorable dish. You will want to prepare this again and again. If you would like to make a more authentic version of this dish, substitute preserved lemons.
2 3 ½ pound chickens
3 cups pitted Greek or Middle Eastern black olives
6 garlic cloves, minely minced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
3 pounds red skin potatoes
1 bunch fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Using kitchen shears or a heavy knife, cut to and remove the backbones from the chickens. Flatten chickens with the heel of the hand, breaking the breastbones.
Remove zest from lemons and cut into ½ inch strips.
Squeeze the juice from 4 of the lemons.
In a large shallow non-aluminum baking pan, combine the lemon juice, garlic, olives and olive oil.
Put chickens in pan, skin-side down. Set aside 10 minutes.
Turn, skin-side up, and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, pepper and lemon zest.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with salt and cook 10 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer registers 170º F at the breast.
While the chicken cooks, scrub the potatoes and cut into quarters.
Put in a medium saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 20 minutes, or until they are fork-tender.
Drain. Serve the chicken with pan juices and potatoes.
Garnish with parsley.