And now for the reason I preserved the lemons: My sister has been talking for awhile now about the Moroccan Chicken she and my brother-in-law make with preserved lemons. This is from a recipe originally posted in the New York Times. I tried it out for my friend Barb’s birthday dinner, and it’s just superb, tender and aromatically spiced. I used a Dutch oven instead of a tagine, which worked wonders. You can leave out the olives if you’re not a fan. Serve with Israeli couscous or seasoned pilaf.
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, pulverized
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chicken, cut in 8 pieces (I used 8 bone in thighs)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions, sliced thin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 calamata olives, pitted and halved
- 8 cracked green olives, pitted and halved
- 1 large or 3 small preserved lemons(sold in specialty food shops)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley (I used cilantro)
- Mix garlic, saffron, ginger, paprika, cumin and turmeric together. If not using kosher chicken, add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add pepper to taste. Rub chicken with mixture, cover, refrigerate and marinate 3 to 4 hours.
- Heat oil in heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Add chicken, and brown on all sides. Remove to platter. Add onions to skillet, and cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to tagine, if you are using one, or leave in skillet. Add cinnamon stick.
- Put chicken on onions. Scatter with olives. Quarter the lemons, remove pulp and cut skin in strips. Scatter over chicken. Mix stock and lemon juice. Pour over chicken.
- Cover tagine or skillet. Place over low heat, and cook about 30 minutes, until chicken is done. Scatter parsley or cilantro on top, and serve.
- 3 Meyer lemons (or Eureka, Lisbon, etc, organic recommended) per pint-sized jar
- 5-6 teaspoons salt
- An extra lemon for juicing
- Water that has been boiled and cooled (sterile)
- You can make however many preserved lemons you like, but roughly 3 will fit per pint-sized jar.
- Thoroughly clean the lemons. Organic is recommended. If you can’t find organic, let the lemons sit in some vinegar water for a few minutes, then rinse.
- Trim the nubs off both ends of each lemon. Quarter each lemon, slicing them down just over ¾ of the way to leave the slices attached at the end.
- Put one teaspoon of salt into the cavity of each lemon.
- Place one teaspoon salt into the bottom of the jar. Put a lemon in the jar, cut-side down, pressing firmly to squish out the lemon juice. Put a teaspoon of salt on top of the lemon. Firmly press the second lemon down on top of the first lemon. Repeat with the third lemon, pressing down firmly. Add a teaspoon of salt on top of the lemon.
- The jar should be halfway full with lemon juice. If needed, squeeze some additional lemon juice into the jar to bring it to the halfway point. Don’t waste that lemon; slice it and stuff the slices into the jar. Pour the boiled/cooled water into the jar to fill it to the top.
- Screw the lid on and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days, shaking it and rotating the jar upside-down/right-side up a few times per day. After 3 days transfer the jars to the refrigerator and let them sit for at least 3 weeks before using. Store in the fridge, will keep for at least 6 months (see Note).
* In most countries preserved lemons are not stored in the refrigerator, they’re simply kept in a cool, dark place. I’ve added the recommendation to store in the fridge based on USDA guidelines. Store them according to your own preference.
* Whatever dish you use them in, discard the pulp (it’s the peel that is used) and thoroughly wash the peel to remove excess salt.
Thanks to Kimberly Killebrew, of The Daring Gourmet: