Sunday, January 3, 2016

Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Ouzo

From Jerusalem: A Cookbook

  • 6 1/2 Tbsp Arak (or Ouzo or Pernod)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange (or clementine) juice
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp grainy mustard
  • 3 Tbsp light brown sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (2.75 lbs) (a mix of thighs and drumsticks is nice)
  • 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 to 3 medium onions (or fennel bulbs) (1 lb) cut lengthwise and then into quarters
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed (optional — I omitted; if you are unsure, maybe just use 1 teaspoon — 2.5 seems like a lot)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together arak, oil, orange and lemon juices, mustard, brown sugar and salt. Season with pepper, to taste.

    • If roasting immediately: Place chicken skin side up in large roasting pan with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, onion pieces (or fennel wedges) and crushed fennel seeds (if using). Pour sauce over top and gently toss everything together with your hands.

    • If you are marinating: Place chicken with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, onion pieces (or fennel wedges), and crushed fennel seeds (if using) in a large mixing bowl or ziplock bag. Turn several times to coat. Marinate chicken for several hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place chicken and marinade on a 12x14 baking sheet. Cook chicken and check after 30 minutes. If the skin is browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 400ºF and continue roasting until the skin is brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes longer. I roast the chicken at 475ºF for 45 minutes and at 400ºF for 10 minutes, but every oven is different, so just keep an eye on it. Remove pan from the oven.
  3. Transfer chicken and clementines and onion pieces with juices to a serving platter. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Or, proceed to step 4, which I have never done.
  4. Optional: Pour cooking liquid into a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce is reduced and you are left with about 1/3 cup. You can degrease by using a spoon to remove some of the fat from top of the sauce. Pour heated sauce over chicken.

Braised Chicken with Apricots, Currants, and Tamarind

From Jerusalem: A Cookbook
(note: originally quail)

2 lb chicken pieces (with bone and skin)
3/4 tsp chile flakes
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups water
5 Tbsp white wine
2/3 cup dried apricots, thickly sliced
2 1/2 Tbsp currants
1 1/2 Tbsp superfine sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro and parsley for garnish

1. Sprinkle chicken with chile flakes, cumin, fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp salt, and black pepper. Massage and cover. Marinate in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in frying pan that is just large enough to hold chicken snugly. Brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from pan and discard most of fat, leaving 1 1/2 tsp. Add water, wine, apricots, currants, sugar, tamarind, lemon juice, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper. Return chicken to pan. Bring water to boil, cover pan and simmer 20 - 25 minutes, turning chicken once or twice.
4. Lift chicken from pan and onto serving platter and keep warm. Reduce liquid to sauce consistency. Spoon over chicken and garnish with herbs.

Cannellini Bean and Lamb Soup

From Jerusalem: A Cookbook

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ of a small head of celery root, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
20 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound stewing meat from lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
7 cups water
½ cup dried Cannellini or pinto beans, soaked overnight in plenty of cold water, then drained
7 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon caster sugar
9 ounces Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potato, peeled and cut into ¾ inch salt and black pepper
bread to serve
lemon juice for serving
chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and celery root over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic cloves and cumin and cook for a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.

Place the meat and water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, skimming the surface frequently until you get a clear broth. Add the onion and celery root mix the drained beans, cardamom, turmeric, tomato paste, and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender.

Add the potatoes to the soup and season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and beans are tender. The soup should be thick. Let it bubble away a bit longer, if needed, to reduce, or add some water. Taste and add more seasoning to your liking. Serve the soup with bread and some lemon juice and fresh chopped cilantro, or zhoug.

Mejadra (Lentils, Onions and Rice)

From Jerusalem: A Cookbook

  • 1 1/4 cups dried green or brown lentils
  • 4 medium onions (1 1/2 lb before peeling)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • about 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the lentils in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the lentils have softened but still have a little bite. Drain and set aside.

Peel the onions and slice thinly. Place on a large flat plate, sprinkle with the flour and 1 teaspoon salt, and mix well with your hands. Heat the sunflower oil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over high heat. Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously. Reduce the heat to medium-high and carefully (it may spit!) add one-third of the sliced onion. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the onion takes on a nice golden brown color and turns crispy (adjust the temperature so the onion doesn’t fry too quickly and burn). Use the spoon to transfer the onion to a colander lined with paper towels and sprinkle with a little more salt. Do the same with the other two batches of onion; add a little extra oil if needed.

Wipe the saucepan in which you fried the onion clean and put in the cumin and coriander seeds. Place over medium heat and toast the seeds for a minute or two. Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and plenty of black pepper. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and then add the cooked lentils and the water. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, lift off the lid, and quickly cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and set aside for 10 minutes.

Finally, add half the fried onion to the rice and lentils and stir gently with a fork. Pile the mixture in a shallow serving bowl and top with the rest of the onion.

Basmati & Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants & Herbs

From Jerusalem: A Cookbook

1/3 cup wild rice
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup basmati rice
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 15 oz can cooked and drained chickpeas
3/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup currants
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Start by putting the wild rice in a small saucepan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked but still quite firm.  Drain and set aside.

To cook the basmati rice, pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a medium saucepan with a tightly fitting lid and place over high heat.  Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir as you warm up the rice.  Carefully add the boiling water, decrease the heat to very low, cover the pan with the lid, and leave to cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a clean tea towel and then the lid, and leave off the heat for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the chickpeas.  Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and curry powder, wait for a couple seconds, and then add the chickpeas and 1/4 teaspoon salt; make sure you do this quickly or the spices may burn in the oil.  Stir over the heat for a minute or two, just to heat the chickpeas, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Wipe the saucepan clean, pour in the sunflower/canola oil, and place over high heat.  Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously.  Use your hands to mix the onion with the flour to coat it slightly.  Take some of the onion and carefully (it may spit!) place it in the oil.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, then transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat in batches until all the onion is fried.

Finally, add both types of rice to the chickpeas and then add the currants, herbs, and fried onion.  Stir, taste, and add salt and pepper as you like.  Serve warm or at room temperature.