Monday, March 8, 2010

No Preservations...

I have never cooked with preserved lemon before – not ever. I have often thought about it, but in the way you think about something when you’re lying awake at 3 am and can’t really do much about it, especially if you don’t have any preserved lemons at home. Thus, I was easily coaxed into making a tagine with preserved lemon which was so delicious, it became my gateway to finding, making and devouring a recipe for cracked green olives with preserved lemon. Yum! The flavour is bright and refreshing and provides a nice balance of texture and taste.

We currently have some Preserved Lemons (made by our very own Catering Chef Matthew Altizer), so feel free to stop by, pick some up and try one of these recipes - or another you might find. But hurry, there are only a few jars left...

Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon & Olives
Serves 4

1/2 preserved lemon
3 T. olive oil
1lb chicken, breast, thighs, or a whole chicken
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 pinch saffron
1/2 c. green olives, pitted
2 bay leaves
1 small handful cilantro, roughly chopped

Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon, cut into thin strips and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the chicken and brown well. Place in a deep baking dish. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the onion and sauté for 15 minutes over medium until very soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, olives, bay leaves and preserved lemon strips.

Stir well and pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until cooked through, adding a little more water if the sauce gets too dry. Remove the chicken from the dish and set aside, keeping the chicken warm. Pour the rest of the mixture into a saucepan and reduce the sauce until it has thickened slightly. Add the cilantro and chicken.

Cracked Green Olives with Herbs and Preserved Lemon
From Gourmet Magazine August 1994

1 lb. small to medium brine-cured green olives (preferably cracked)
1/4 c. chopped fresh coriander
3 T. chopped fresh mint leaves
Peel of 1/2 preserved lemon cut into julienne strips, plus 3 T. preserved lemon juice to taste
2 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t. ground coriander
A pinch dried red hot pepper flakes

*available at Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets

If using uncracked whole olives, crush lightly with flat side of large knife on a cutting board. In a large bowl cover olives with cold water and soak 4 hours to remove excess salt. Drain olives well. In a bowl stir together olives and remaining ingredients and marinate, covered and chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight. Olives may be prepared 1 week ahead and kept chilled, covered. Serve olives at room temperature.

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