Preserved lemons are the new and cool kid on the block, but they’ve been around for ages. Combining lemons in a brine of water, salt, and lemon juice results in a pickled product. Extremely versatile, you’ll find preserved lemons in Vietnamese chicken soups, paired with seafood or artichokes in rice dishes, or even in Bloody Marys and to add an intense lemon essence to cocktail sauce. Both the pulp and rind are used.
Why? Preserved lemons add a punch of intense lemon flavor. Here, they are essential for a Moroccan chicken tagine, or stew.
Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon Recipe
1 T ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp saffron threads, minced, dissolved in warm water
3 T olive oil, divided
8 bone-in chicken thighs
3 sweet onions, halved, then sliced thinly into half moons
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 preserved lemon, pulp chopped, rind diced
1 cup chicken stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 T Italian parsley, minced
3 T cilantro, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ginger, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and tumeric in small bowl. Rub mixture on chicken thighs.
In large, deep skillet, heat 2 T olive oil on medium high until shimmering. Brown chicken on all sides and remove to clean plate.
Lower heat to medium and add remaining oil to skillet, and more if necessary to coat bottom. Add garlic to skillet and sauté for 30 seconds to release its essence. Add onions and soften, covered, for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden but not browned.
Return chicken and any juices that have accumulated on the plate to skillet. Sprinkle olives, preserved lemon, stock, lemon juice, and herbs over chicken. Simmer covered for 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
Serve with couscous in warmed, shallow bowls. Here, roasted brussels sprouts add another punch of green.
This recipe inspired Stephanie Davis, wine educator and Founder of Albarello products, to make a small batch of simple syrup, juice a lemon, and open the liquor cabinet to make a Sloe Gin Fizz. Stephanie thinks this famous cocktail deserves a second coming because it is ridiculously delicious and easy to make. She likes a good quality Sloe Gin made from real sloe berries, like McHenry Old English Sloe Gin from Tasmania, or an easier to find bottle like Plymouth Sloe Gin ($32). She even shared her quick and dirty recipe:
2 oz sloe gin
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
Shake the sloe gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a lemon wedge or slice.
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.