Friday, July 24, 2009

Stewed Lemon Chicken - Attempt #2

For my second attempt at using preserved lemons, I went back to a simpler recipe: one whole chicken in a crockpot. This time I was looking to avoid the overpowering flavor of the olives and bringing out the lemons more. I wasn't feeling particularly adventurous this time, so I stuck with flavors that I knew would work with chicken and lemon: just some fresh rosemary and garlic.

I only used two quarters of preserved lemon for this one. I scooped the pulp out of the quarters and set those aside. Then I trimmed away a bit of the pith, and minced the rind. I also took two big sprigs of fresh rosemary (courtesy of my Mom planting it in a box on my patio during one visit - thanks Mom!), stripped the leaves and minced those as well, adding them to the lemon rind. Then I chopped one large, fat clove of garlic and added that to the lemon and rosemary, and then whisked in some olive oil to all that to make a sort of chunky paste.

Next, I took my chicken (a 3 1/2 lb. roaster), and carefully separated the skin from the breast with my paring knife - this was the only tricky part, since it's hard for me to get under the chicken skin far enough towards the neck without tearing it near the cavity. I stuffed as much of the lemon-rosemary paste under the skin as I could, and then put it in the crockpot. I drizzled some olive oil over the chicken, and rubbed it over the surface, both to coat the chicken and also to distribute the lemon-rosemary paste a bit under the skin. I threw in some new potatoes and some unpeeled cloves of garlic around the chicken, and stuffed the pulp from the lemon quarters into the cavity of the chicken. Then I sprinkled a generous amount of Kosher salt over the chicken, and also a ground pepper blend for spiciness, and tucked a sprig of rosemary under each leg of the chicken. Lid on, set the crockpot to low, and off to the office I go!


Nine hours later, I got home and my kitchen smelled delightfully of garlic, rosemary, and lemon. The chicken had stewed in it's own juices and was a nice golden brown. The garlic cloves were soft and mushy and sweet and nutty and the potatoes were easily pierced with a fork.


This turned out a LOT better than the previous preserved lemon recipe. The chicken was tender and falling off the bone, and both it and the potatoes tasted wonderful from sitting in the herb-garlic-lemon-enhanced chicken juices. I just mushed the potatoes a bit and smeared the soft garlic cloves into them, and spooned the juice from the chicken over them and the chicken, and everything was deeeeeeee-licious. The flavor of the lemons was noticeable, but not overpowering, and nothing needed more salt or pepper.

I'm definitely going to be revisiting this recipe next time whole chickens are on sale, but I think the next time I use the lemons, I'm going to try then with seafood and see how that goes. I have to say, it was really heartening to find a dish I really liked that used the preserved lemons after the unpleasant encounter with those DAMN OLIVES AND YES I AM STILL HATING ON THOSE THINGS.

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