Monday, 10 November 2008

Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemon

Last week there was such a ripple of sadness around many of my online forum friends when one of us passed away. I felt shocked and heavy hearted when I heard of Pistachio's passing. It feels so wrong, and sad that we won’t again see her name lit up in the users online box, hear her words, see her cooking on her blog from her Spanish kitchen. How dreadful it must be for her husband.

The speed of it is so hard, a few days between hope of the Doctors finding out what was wrong, and how to make it better…to the hard reality of not coming home from hospital and eventual death. When this is condensed into such a few precious days, it brings real shock and a feeling of unreality to those who grieve.

A number of us are making something as an In Memory Of sort of foodie celebration of the wonderful person Pistachio was, and still is wherever she is now.

I have been meaning to make this recipe for more than two years (!) and did indeed make my preserved lemons then, and the have been slowly maturing in a dark cupboard since. Pistachio was the person in our foodie group that found Crazy Waters Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry, and she of course passed on such a good find. I can remember seeing a picture of Pi’s dish of Moroccan chicken with spices from the book, and it was really spectacular, I made it soon after and it was so different and sort of exotic, I loved it.
In the making
Not long after Pi said this dish was also lovely as well, and it is. The melting onions and preserved lemons give the dish such a great flavour, the cooked preserved lemons tasting much better in the dish than they do raw! Diana Henry says she craves this dish and I can see why, it has a taste all its own. I’ve given the recipe below as it should be, but I reduced the garlic by half and the cayenne down to 1/8 of a teaspoon. I served it with Ina Garten’s couscous with pine nuts and currants through it, to give a sweet and crunchy element.

God bless you Pi wherever you are and thank you for your foodie legacy =) xx
With couscous
Spiced Chicken on Melting Onions with Preserved Lemon
From Diana Henry’s Crazy Water Pickled Lemons

Serves 4

4 Chicken Breast joints, skin on and partly boned
30ml (2 Tbs) Olive Oil
3 Onions, halved and sliced into half-moons
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground Turmeric
225ml (8fl.oz) Chicken Stock
2.5ml (½ tsp) Saffron Threads
85g (3oz) Green Olives
for the marinade:
½ Preserved Lemon
6 Garlic Cloves, crushed
5ml (1 tsp) ground Ginger
2.5ml (½ tsp) each of ground Cumin, Paprika and Cayenne
60ml (4Tbl) Olive Oil
30ml (2Tbl) Lemon Oil (from the preserved lemons)
Salt and Pepper

to serve:A good handful of flat-leaf parsley or coriander, roughly chopped
(1) For the marinade, remove the flesh from the inside of the lemon and chop it up, retaining the outer rind to use in the sauce. Mix the flesh with all the other marinade ingredientsRub the marinade all over the chicken, spooning some marinade just under the skin if you can. Cover and leave in fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Turn the joints every so often.

(2) Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a shallow, ovenproof pan. Add the chicken and quickly cook the outside until nice and golden. Put the chicken aside.In the same pan, start to cook the onions. When they are softening and beginning to turn translucent, add the turmeric and continue to cook stirring, for another minute. Bring the stock or water up to the boil and dissolve the saffron in it. Add this to the pan, along with the chicken pieces and any juices that have come out of them. It will look as if you don’t have much liquid, but this is all it needs – the chicken will continue to get nice and golden on top while the sauce makes itself underneath.Cook in an oven, preheated to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas mark 4, for 30 minutes.

(3) Cut the lemon rind into fine strips and add it to the dish with the olives 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. (You’ll need to rinse the olives if they are in brine, but if they’re in olive oil just drain them.) Scatter with parsley or coriander, and serve with rice, couscous or flatbread.


thecelticcookinshanghai said...

A wonderful tribute to you friend Pi. I do wish I had known her.

Anna's kitchen table said...

Kj, Pi would have loved reading about this wouldn't she! :-)

Oh my! Apple pie! said...

I keep saying it but Pi had some great recipes, she always passed on a 'keeper'.
It sounds delicious!

Coby said...

K-J this recipe is Pistachio all over. A fitting tribute - I bought Crazy Water Pickled Lemons on Pi's sayso also.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post K-J, Pi would be pleased so many people have made tributes to her. She'll be remembered fondly by so many foodies. The recipe looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to dearest Pi. She'd have loved reading about your cooking of the chicken dish I'm sure. I must try it out too, especially as it was Pi who introduced me to Diana's books.

Anonymous said...

A lovely tribute to Pistachio, I often spent ages looking at her delicious Med inspired dishes on her blog! She would have loved your cooking this!

Deborah said...

So sorry to hear of your friend's passing, but what a great tribute!

Nazarina A said...

Pistachio will be missed in this dynamic culinary realm. Our condolences and thoughts go out to her family You did her proud with this really scrumptious dish, I love preserved lemons and those tasty melting onions and chicken!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

A great tribute to Pistachio. Hopefully her blog will stay up so that people can continue to be inspired by it.

Kelly-Jane said...

Thank you all for your comments :)


hungryandfrozen said...

Funnily enough this is the one recipe from Pi's blog that I've made, and it's one that I often come back to. Must make it again and soon. *hugs*

Maria♥ said...

Kelly what a beautiful tribute to Pi. This recipe sounds so delish!


Rosie said...

A wonderful tribute to Pi K.J. She would have loved this.

Rosie x