The reason I started this blog was to share my favourite recipes. This is one I have been meaning to post from the very beginning, as it’s one of my all-time favourite dishes. It does demand a little planning if you are preserving the lemons yourself – easy to do, but the lemons need to sit in the fridge for about 4 weeks before use. Don’t let this put you off though, it’s well worth it. If you can get hold of good preserved lemons in the shops, you can always use these. The flavours in this dish are fantastic and the chicken just melts in your mouth – yum!
Lebanese Lemon Chicken
4-6 chicken fillets (or your preferred parts of chicken)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 heaped tablespoons flour
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, or your oil of choice for frying
1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped, herby tops reserved for garnish
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into cubes
2 preserved lemons
1 small bunch of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
150g bulgur, preferably wholegrain
1 glass white wine
565ml chicken stock
1 small tub of sour cream/creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
Bash all the spices together with the salt in a pestle and mortar, until you have a fine powder. Mix with the flour. Rub the flavoured flour all over the chicken, reserving any leftover flour.
Heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole type pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Once they are golden brown, remove to a plate and turn down the heat. Add the vegetables, lemon and rosemary to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the leftover flour and the bulgur, and stir well. Add the wine and allow to cook down. Pour in the chicken stock until it reaches the same level as the bulgur and vegetables. Place a layer of greased baking parchment over the grain and veg mix. (See this handy guide for making a parchment lid – if your casserole is round. Alternatively trace your lid to get the right shape.) Place the chicken pieces on top of the parchment.
Cover the casserole and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve straight away with a dollop of creme fraiche and garnished with the chopped fennel top.
This recipe is based on a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Kitchen’
9 organic/unwaxed lemons
3 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
Boiled water, cooled
Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/gas 1.
Place a clean preserving jar, large enough for 3 lemons, and lid in the oven for 15 minutes to sterilise. Cut and juice 6 of the lemons. Cut a cross in the remaining 3 lemons – almost to the base, but ensure the quarters stay together. Rub a generous teaspoon of salt into the inside of each of the 3 lemons. Pack the lemons into the jar and add the lemon juice and spices. (If you have more lemons and space in your jar, add the extras ones, salting them like the others.) Top the jar with the boiled, cooled water. Seal the jar, place in the fridge and leave for 4 weeks before using, shaking the jar gently occasionally. The lemons can keep for a couple of years this way.