Jean-Georges developed this dish after a vacation in Morocco, and its flavor is certainly evocative of North Africa. This sauce can be used with sautéed boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But try it this way if you can—the sauce combines beautifully with the crisp skin of the chicken.
Simmered Carrots with Cumin and Orange sets this dish off nicely.
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2-inch piece cinnamon
A few strands of saffron or 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
2 cups Rich Chicken Stock or other stock
2 tablespoons peanut or neutral-flavored oil, such as canola
One 3- to 4-pound chicken, cut up for sautéing (page 193)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced green olives
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 500 F. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, cinnamon, saffron or turmeric, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the stock and increase the heat to high; cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the chicken. When the liquid has reduced by about three-quarters and becomes syrupy, turn off the heat.
2. Heat the peanut or other oil in a large, preferably nonstick, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and cook undisturbed until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Turn over and cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. Turn over so the skin is down again, and place the skillet in the oven. Check it after 15 minutes, and remove the pieces as they are cooked through (the breasts will be cooked before the legs; keep them warm).
3. When the chicken is just about done, finish the sauce: Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, the olives, and some salt (not too much—the olives are salty) and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and cilantro. Remove the cinnamon stick.
4. To serve, arrange the chicken on 4 plates. Spoon the sauce around it, not over it, so the chicken stays crunchy.