Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Preserved Lemon Chicken Is Finger Licking Good

One of the days we were at Epcot we had planned to make reservations at a Japanese Hibatchi Restaurant.  I love those.  There is something really cool about watching the chef of your section prepare the scrumptious meal....but....we got finished earlier than we planned and decided to eat lunch instead.  The Japanese restaurants were packed...as were the ones in France, Canada....there was nothing... and we were idiots for deciding to eat at 12....along with 40 gazillion other park-goers.  As we walked on....there was this drop dead gorgeous woman on the outskirts of Morocco and I asked her how long the wait would be at their main restaurant....she swept her hand gracefully to the corridor and said to please go....and that there would be no waiting.  We would our way through the corridors and finally came to this palacial restaurant.  I was seeing 40.00 lunch meals....but to my surprise and amazement....not only were we seated immediately....the most expensive thing on the menu was 20.00.  This was my kind of place.....or so I thought.  I had never had Moroccan food and was not sure I wanted to start today.....but I saw this preserved lemon chicken dish that sounded pretty yummy and I thought I would take the dive.  Believe me I was not disappointed.  From the wonderful bread like stuff they brought out....to my meal to Frank's baklava...each bite was a taste of heaven.  When the waiter set my plate in front of me it looked like something a cowboy would eat on the trail...the food was touching (If you don't know I don't like foods to touch).  But....touching is necessary here so that all the flavors mix.  If you ever get a chance to eat Preserved chicken at a Moroccan place...jump on it.  I found a recipe...and it is spot on what I ate....so I thought I would share it with you.  It is so good.

Preserved Lemon Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or a mix of vegetable oil and olive oil)
  • 2 very large white or yellow onions (1 lb or ½ kg), sliced as thinly as possible
  • one small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • one small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon Moroccan yellow colorant)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled (divided - optional)
  • 1 teaspoon smen (Moroccan preserved butter - optional)
  • 1 handful green and red(calamata) olives mixed
  • 1 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds removed

Preparation:

Cooking the Chicken

Mix everything except half of the saffron, olives, and lemon in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Cover the pot, and cook the chicken over medium heat, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is very tender and almost ready to fall off the bones (approximately one hour, but longer if using a free range chicken). Keep the heat adjusted so that the chicken doesn't scorch, and try not to add water as you cook; the chicken will braise in its own juices.When the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a plate and cover.

Reduce the Sauce

Continue cooking the onion mixture and sauce over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquids evaporate and the onions form a blended mass which separates from the oils.  Add the preserved lemon, olives, the rest of the saffron, and a few tablespoons of water, and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, and heat through.

Serve the Chicken

Place the chicken on a serving platter, pour the onion sauce over the top and sides, and garnish the top of the chicken with the quartered lemon and some olives. Serve with whole boiled potatoes and crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives is a classic Moroccan dish. Salty, lemony and zesty, it’s one of my new personal favorites. Saffron is optional on the recipe I found...but it was used in the one I ate and it is a delicious, fragrant addition.  This recipe is for conventional stove top preparation in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. The trick to this method is two-fold: 1) Don't add any water during the cooking; and 2) reduce the sauce until the onions are a thick mass.This dish can also be made by cooking in a tangine(ebay here I come I definitely want one of these) or slow roasting it in the oven. The last method is useful especially when you are serving a large group of people.

I have to add a side bar because in order to do this you have to have or preserve your lemons.  I hunted everywhere and finally found the method and thought I would add it for you to use. 

Preserved Lemons

Ingredients

  • 8-10 Meyer lemons*, scrubbed very clean
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed
  • Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed
  • Sterilized quart canning jar
* You don't need to use Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do, it's just that the milder Meyer lemons work very well for preserving in this way.

Method

1 Place 2 Tbsp of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar.
2 One by one, prepare the lemons in the following way. Cut off any protruding stems from the lemons, and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwize, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.
3 Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt all over the insides and outsides of the lemons.
4 Pack the lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill up the jar with lemons, make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.
5 Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down ocassionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down ocassionally, for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.
6 To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt. Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired.
7 Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.
Note:
You can add spices to the lemons for preserving - cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf.
Bon Appetite....I hope you try it and like it.  I know I did.  Thank you Epcot for this great recipe....and thanks to all the other countries for being full.  I owe you one.

5 comments:

Linda Jackson said...

Hi Karen! I found your blog through the A-Z blogging link, and I am a new follower. If you'd like to follow back, I can be found at www.writersdolaundrytoo.com.

Sounds like you're from my husband's neck of the woods (Alexander City, AL). I'm looking forward to your A-Z posts. :)

Marti said...

Wow, this sounds yummy. Will have to give it a try.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Well that sounds delicious. So glad you liked it. I hope to find it on a menu someday! Glad you found the recipe but it seems like a lot of work to cook it up.

Sweet Tea said...

I'm not very afventurous when it comes to food. I've never had anything that sounds quite like what you described. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new!
Welcome home!

Konstanz Silverbow said...

I’m just dropping by to say hello! I look forward to seeing the alphabet all over your blog in April!


Konstanz Silverbow
nothoughts2small.blogspot.com
A to Z Co-host
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com