Friday, 23 October 2009

Djej M'Kalli B'L'Hamd Markad

Djej M'Kalli B'L'Hamd Markad
Tagine of Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Artichoke Hearts
Sounds cooler in its own language, eh?

This is a mildly spiced and gloriously lemony Moroccan chicken dish, made magical with preserved lemons. Fresh lemons will not do this dish justice. Believe me, you need the real thing. Fortunately, if you can't find any at the market, they are easy to make at home. All you need is time - about 4-6 weeks, lemons and salt.
My friend Lydia writes about the magic of this ingredient here, and how to make your own preserved lemons here.

Once you have found or made your preserved lemons, and trust me - you will thank me when you have - this dish is easy to put together and guaranteed to give you wow factor at the table. And the serving tagine? Not necessary. But it sure looks cool.

Djej M'Kalli B'L'Hamd Markad
Tagine of Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Artichoke Hearts
Kitty Morse, Cooking at the Kasbah

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 pounds chicken, cut up
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup chicken broth
8 threads Spanish saffron, toasted and crumbled
10 sprigs fresh cilantro, tied with cotton string
20 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, tied with cotton string

1 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 Tb. preserved salted lemon pulp
12 baby artichokes, trimmed of any tough outer leaves, or 6 medium artichokes, boiled, trimmed of leaves and choke and quartered, or one 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
Rind of 2 preserved lemons cut in thin strips
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (I used mint)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium-high heat, add olive oil, paprika, ginger, pepper, and chicken. Cook, stirring to coat, 1 or 2 min. (Don't over cook as the spices will turn bitter.) Add the onion, broth, saffron, cilantro, and parsley. Cover tightly and bake in the oven until chicken is tender, 50 to 55 min.
Remove from oven. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to an ovenproof dish, leaving the sauce in the pan. Discard the parsley and cilantro. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F and return the chicken to the oven to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a simmer on the top of the stove. Add the lemon juice, lemon pulp, and artichokes. Stir gently until artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes, then gently stir in lemon rind.
Mound reserved chicken pieces in the center of a serving platter. Arrange artichoke hearts around edge, spoon sauce over, and decorate with cilantro leaves. Serve with bread or couscous.
My tagine was served on a bed of whole wheat couscous seasoned with raisins, cinnamon, and a touch of cayenne pepper. I used mint to garnish, rather than cilantro.