Tuesday, 18 September 2012

RECIPE: Chicken with preserved lemon. Copyright SvD.

I do all my meat and veg shopping at a biodynamic farm in East Sussex where the meat is very flavoursome and the vegetables taste like vegetables. The chicken at the farm is quite gamey and the  tartness of the preserved lemon balances it nicely.


One whole chicken cut into half, then quarters and then separated into pieces (you can also use thighs and drumsticks only for this recipe if you prefer).

Two preserved lemons

One large onion

Few sprigs thyme

Dash dry white wine.
Two cups chicken stock or water

Handful fresh chives

Unsalted butter

Olive oil,

Salt and pepper

White flour


Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in flour. Dust off excess flour.

Heat around one third of a cup of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add a knob of butter. When the butter begins to foam, add the chicken pieces and brown for approximately three to four minutes on each side. Note: you can remove the skin and then dust the meat in flour if you are worried about fat. While the chicken is browning, peel and finely slice the onion into rings. Once the chicken has browned, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. You may wish to remove some of the oil and leave around a tablespoon only in the pan. Now add the onion and stir to brown evenly (around seven minutes). Do keep the onion slices moving in the pan so they do not burn.

Add the dash of white wine and scrape up all the bits in the pan. Increase the heat sufficiently for the wine to bubble and reduce quickly.

Slice the lemon as thinly as you possibly can – the slices should be as thin as paper if possible. Discard the seeds. Add the lemon slices to the pan along with the thyme. Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the pan contents to the boil, cover and reduce to a bare simmer. 

Leave to simmer gently for around 45 minutes.

The chicken is ready when it falls away easily from the bone and the sauce is thick, unctuous and fragrant.

Garnish the chicken with very finely chopped chives.

Serve the chicken with crispy roast potatoes and steamed vegetables.

Tip: cooking is about texture. Crispy potatoes complement the tangy melt-in-the-mouth chicken and steamed vegetables provide a clean and fresh-tasting accompaniment to the meal. If liked, dress the vegetables with a dash of balsamic vinegar and a good quality extra virgin oil just before serving.

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