Friday, April 2, 2010

CSA Chicken #1 - Moroccan style with Preserved Lemon

We had two huge chicken leg quarters (i.e. the leg and the thigh attached) left from the February CSA (you can see them in the right hand top corner in the picture there in that post) when we got the March CSA, so I decided to get going on them. They were really surprisingly enormous, considering these are free range chickens we get from Stillman's farm. The way the meat CSA works is, once a month you get 10 pounds of various kinds of meat - you don't get to pick, and it's parceled out. Luckily for us, so far, each little parcel seems to be enough meat for the three of us (Jenean, me and Axel F) to have a meal and sometimes lunch the next day, if we're clever about how we prepare it.

This time I definitely wanted to go Moroccan, because our friends Elena and Matthew had given us a gorgeous jar of preserved lemons they had made themselves (amazing, right??).
I looked up a few recipes to get ideas, but then I just sort of did it, rather than following one particular recipe (especially since I was trying to find ways to use up a bunch of random ingredients in the fridge as per our Challenge).

I cut the chicken up and removed the skin, and any big chunks of fat. I threw the chicken pieces in a big bowl, and added:

2 large onions, chopped into large (1 inch) dice
1 shallot, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 allspice berries
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp toasted ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
a couple shakes of ground cinnamon and allspice
a lot of salt and pepper

I tossed that all around, and let it marinate for about an hour.

In my big dutch oven, I melted 3 tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I added the chicken pieces, and cooked them a minute or two on each side (no need to brown them actually) then added in all the onions and spices and everything from the marinade. Then in a stroke of inspiration, I threw in some green olives that had been in the fridge since christmas (really!) and the last third of a jar of sun dried tomato strips (I have no idea how long we've had those - maybe forever). I put the lid on the pot, and put it in a 300 degree oven, for probably 2 hours. I lost track of exactly how long. I was practicing, I was picking Jenean up from work, I don't know.

Anyway - because they were in a low oven, with the lid on the pot the whole time, the chicken and the onions cooked down and released their juices to make their own sauce, and it was lovely. When it came out of the oven and it was time to eat, I added fresh chopped cilantro and two of those gorgeous preserved lemons, chopped up small (I ate some straight - they might be my new favorite snack food). We had it with roasted broccoli and browned butter and almond whole-wheat cous cous (basically follow package directions, but instead of just melting the butter with the water, melt it in the pan with some sliced almonds first, and let them both turn deep golden brown before adding the water; bring it all to a boil, add salt and the cous cous and some golden raisins, if you want, cover and let stand 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, etc).

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