October 22, 2015

And now for something different (baked chicken with artichokes, cinnamon, and preserved lemons)

I get emails from the Kitchn daily on recipes and tips and tricks.  This one for baked chicken with artichokes really caught my eye. I love Middle Eastern food, Americanized or not.  I had some yummy Morrocan food in New York the last time I went and haven't had any since and was craving something similar. This recipe was the answer to the craving!  This really reminded me of the dishes I had in New York and also made me want a tagine! It had some ingredients I love, some I have on hand and never use, and some that intrigued me, specifically the preserved lemons.  For some reason lately, buying a whole bag of lemons has been cheaper than buying 2 singles.  I bought a bag a few weeks ago in such a situation and had a bunch leftover.  I hate wasting food, so I made preserved lemons!  Look at you, dear reader! You get two recipes in one post, aren't you lucky!  The lemons are first, followed by the chicken.  

I accidentally erased most of my pics for this one.  This is my cut lemons sprinkled with salt.  I use the work sprinkle in jest.
Shoved on down there.  See you in three weeks!
Ingredients
8 to 10 lemons
Kosher salt
1 quart-sized wide mouth mason jar with lid

Sterilize the jar in boiling water for 15 minutes. Watch your hands when you pull the jar out...  

Scrub the lemons under running water to remove any dirt and impurities.  Slice off the stem end and the tip end of each lemon. Starting at one end, cut the lemons in half lengthwise, but stop about 1/2 an inch before you reach the bottom. Repeat the cut perpendicularly so you have cut each lemon lengthwise in a "X" formation, but not all the way through; they should still be attached at the bottom, about 1/2 an inch (See pic above).  Liberally sprinkle salt on the inside and outside of the lemons. Hold them open with your fingers and really get the salt inside them. You will use a lot of salt, don;t be shy! Add about 2 tablespoons of salt to the bottom of the sterilized jar. Place each lemon in the jar, pushing down on them and squeezing them to release the juices. Fill the jar but leave about 3/4 an inch of headroom. The lemons should be completely submerged in juice. If you can't get enough juice out of them, remove a lemon wedge or juice a lemon and add it to the jar. Add 2 more tablespoons of salt to the top. Seal the jar.  Let the jar sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Each day, turn it upside down and shake it to distribute the salt and liquids.Put the jar in the refrigerator and turn it upside down every other day or so.  The lemons will be ready in three weeks, when the rinds have softened. When using, rinse your lemon thoroughly in water to remove excess salt. Discard seeds.  These will keep in the refrigerator for six months.

It was like a fun science experiment making this!  I got to check it everyday and watch to see how it changed and didn't have to do any work after the initial prep except turn the jar over!

Now on to the chicken! As an aside I let this cook while I was in the shower giving myself a Keratin treatment.  All of a sudden I smelled it.  It smelled so good filled the house with warm fall smells.  I was glad it was open window weather so it wouldn't be too strong!

The cast.  I ended up not using the salt, there was enough in everything else!

Ginger, garlic and one preserved lemon.

I should have made the lemon smaller!

I mixed the spices separately. 
Add chicken and olive oil to casserole dish
Add all the components to the dish and mix around
And then pop in the oven for 30 minutes
Good lord this smells amazing!  
Added a little fresh parsley for garnish and served over rice and quinoa blend.
If you purchase the lemons and don't make them this dish is ridiculously easy for what you get out of it. You could serve it over boxed cous cous with a salad and impress any company!  Next time though I will chop the lemon smaller and maybe not use the whole thing.  It was WAY lemony!

Baked Chicken with Artichokes, Cinnamon, and Preserved Lemons (From the Kitchn)

Serves 4

2 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds and insides removed, rind chopped small
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 large pinch saffron
Large jar of marinated artichokes, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine all the ingredients in a 9x13 baking dish (or similar), and stir to mix thoroughly. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and registers 165°F.

Happy Cooking!

Missy

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