If you’re looking for an exotic culinary escape, chicken tagine with two kinds of lemon fits the bill.
I first made this dish during Superstorm Sandy, when I thankfully found myself with electricity and a full week off from work. And thus began my own culinary hurricane, during which I made everything from baked mac and cheese to said dish.
Needless to say, it was a tasty week, although my waist and my wallet were glad when I had to report back to work.
This recipe comes from Elizabeth Bard’s memoir, “Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes,” which chronicles her tale of falling in love with a Frenchman, the City of Light and French gastronomy. The book, in case you’re interested, was charming for the most part, although her tone was, at times, cloying.
But, the recipes, at least the ones that I’ve made thus far, have a certain je ne sais quoi. This is the only tagine that I’ve made to date, but I plan on testing out more varieties.
And I thought that making this dish was perfect preparation for my Moroccan voyage in two weeks time. Enjoy.
Chicken with Two Kinds of Lemon (Source: “Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes” by Elizabeth Bard)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
6 chicken legs and 6 chicken thighs (I used 2 chicken breasts and had the butcher cube into small pieces)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and tied with kitchen string
2 small preserved lemons (available in Middle Eastern groceries), cut into eighths
Slivered almonds (optional)
Juice of one fresh lemon
1. Heat oil in sauté pan. Add the onions and cinnamon. Stir to coat.
2. Push the onions to one side of the pan and brown the chicken in two batches, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Mix the onions from time to time.
3. When the chicken is browned, return the first batch to the pot. By this time, the onions should be caramelized and beginning to melt.
4. Add the water and wine. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low.
5. Add the ginger and tied cilantro.
6. Cook gently, covered, for 45 minutes to one hour.
7. Add the preserved lemons. Cook another 20 minutes.
8. (Optional) In a small frying pan, toast the slivered almonds until nicely browned. Set aside.
9. Ten minutes before serving, discard the cilantro stems and squeeze the juice of lemon over chicken. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and almonds.
Serves three to four.