Sunday, May 11, 2008

Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Niçoise Olives

Did you know that 2 preserved lemons is $23? Neither did I. I had to buy them at this price because only ONE store in the whole region carries these as a grocery item. Needless to say, I now have preserved lemons in the fridge and have no idea what to use them for next! This dish felt like a lot of work for little return. I did not love the flavour but it was quite good overall.

I used chicken breast and chicken thighs instead of the whole bird (as recommended in the recipe). Most epicurious reviewers suggested to go this route. The flavour is very different and quite complex.

The recipe was translated from French and so it reads a little off. I started making this not realizing the recipe was only for 4 people. I was serving dinner to 7 so I quickly adjusted the amounts. I found the garlic was a bit much so unless you LOVE garlic, use only 3 cloves.

Ingredients & Preparation: (From Epicurious, Original Gourmet, October 1990)

Serves 4.
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • a 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh coriander plus additional for garnish if desired
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • a pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
    a 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, trussed
    1/4 cup Niçoise or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon (small), chopped fine
In a large ovenproof kettle stir together the onion, the garlic, the gingerroot, the cinnamon stick, 3 tablespoons of the coriander, the parsley, the lemon juice, the saffron, the oil, and 1 cup water, put the chicken on top of the mixture, and season it with salt and pepper.

Bake the chicken, covered, in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 45 minutes, transfer it to a cutting board, and let it stand, covered loosely, for 5 minutes. Cut the chicken into quarters.

To the onion mixture add the olives and the preserved lemon, bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer it, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is thickened. Return the chicken to the kettle and simmer the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the chicken is just heated through. Discard the cinnamon stick and serve the chicken with the rice pilaf, sprinkled with the additional coriander.

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