Thursday, October 23, 2008

Roasted Chicken with Preserved Lemon

Although this recipe was quick and easy, it also proved to be a major test of patience. Here's why: I got The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper in the early summer. As usual, I flagged some recipes, including this one. Of course, I'm sure you guessed by now that I couldn't find preserved lemons . . . not even in St Louis. So, with a little help from Google and Simply Recipes, I made my own. This project was a test of my patience because I really wanted to make this recipe . . . in July . . . and preserving things takes time! However, I placed the in-progress lemons in the very back of the refrigerator, thus forgetting about them for quite a while, which made it easier. When I finally uncovered them last weekend, I knew I better try this recipe while the lemons were at the front of the fridge. This recipe is not for the faint of heart, and not for lemon or garlic-phobes either. It really packs a punch, and is quick and easy too (with the exception of preserving lemons!). Roasted Chicken Breasts with Preserved Lemon
1/2 preserved lemon, lightly rinsed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. thyme (original recipe calls for fresh coriander sprigs)
1 tsp. cumin (original recipe calls for whole cumin seeds)
1 large garlic clove
2 large chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, finely chop together the lemon, olive oil, herbs/spices, and garlic.
  2. Cover a large, shallow roasting pan with heavy duty foil. Arrange chicken breasts on the foil, spread 1/4 lemon mixture on each, flip and spread remaining lemon mixture evenly over them. Grind black pepper over the chicken, place in oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
  3. Roast chicken 45 minutes or until it reaches 170 degrees internally. Chicken may be placed under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes per side to increase browning (optional, I didn't do this).
  4. Serve immediately. Chicken reheats well and may be kept in refrigerator up to 2 days. Yield: 2 servings. - Adapted from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper
Preserved Lemons

8-10 Meyer lemons OR 4-6 regular lemons, scrubbed very clean (I used regular lemons)
1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed
Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed

Sterilized quart canning jar


Place 2 Tbsp of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar.

One by one, prepare the lemons in the following way. Cut off any protruding stems from the lemons, and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.

Pry the lemons open and generously sprinkle salt all over the insides and outsides of the lemons.

Pack the lemons in the jar, squishing them down so that juice is extracted and the lemon juice rises to the top of the jar. Fill up the jar with lemons, make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. Add more fresh squeezed lemon juice if necessary. Top with a couple tablespoons of salt.

Seal the jar and let sit at room temperature for a couple days. Turn the jar upside down occasionally. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down occasionally, for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.

To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt. Discard seeds before using. Discard the pulp before using, if desired.

Store in refrigerator for up to 6 months. - Recipe from Simply Recipes

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