Poulet au Citrons Confits (Preserved Lemon Chicken)

I realize that the picture above does not look like much. Don’t let the image fool you, though. This chicken recipe is flavorful with chicken falling of the bone. You will want to go back for seconds. The only downside to this recipe is that it requires that you first make (or somehow procure) “preserved lemons,” which takes a month. It’s really easy, though and it will be worth it. Believe me.

Preserved lemons:

Ingredients:

  • 6 lemons (preferably organic…you will be cooking with the whole lemon once these are ready). I like to use Meyer lemons, but any variety will do.
  • Several cups of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • You will also need a large, gallon-sized mason jar.

Directions:
1. Wash and dry the lemons.
2. Cut the lemons into quarters length-wise, but leave one end of the lemon intact.
3. Using a paring knife, remove as many seeds as you can easily access. Don’t worry, though, if you miss some seeds. You can get them out later.
4. Sprinkle about 1/2 c of salt in the bottom of the jar and about half of the coriander seeds.
5. Stuff as much salt as possible into the just-about-quartered lemons. Then stuff the lemons into the jar. After each lemon you add to the jar, sprinkle some salt on top. You certainly don’t need to fill up the jar with salt, just make sure there’s plenty in there. About halfway up, add the rest of the coriander seeds. Don’t worry about smushing the lemons. It’s ok, they’re going to soften a lot anyway.
6. Wait 2 days. The salt should extract the lemon juice and the lemons will start to be submerged in their own juices. If after 2 days, they are not submerged, add enough boiling water to cover the lemons. Put the jar in the fridge and wait at least 1 month. After a month, they are ready to use. I’m not really sure how long they’re good for. One recipe I have says they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. I have personally used them after a longer time than that, but of course, if you do, it would be at your own risk.

Preserved lemons

Now, you can finally make the preserved lemon chicken, or as I prefer to call it “Poulet au Citrons Confits.” That sounds much better.

Poulet au Citrons Confits:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion. Peeled and cut into rings.
  • Olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks.
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed.
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 4 preserved lemons
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seed
  • Pinch of saffron

Directions:
1. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Douse it with fresh lemon juice and a little salt. Set aside.
2. Rinse your preserved lemons and cut them the rest of the way, so that they are now fully quartered. Remove any seeds that you see and can easily access.


3. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Cook the chicken until it is golden brown on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.


4. Add a little more olive oil. Place the onions, garlic, coriander seed, and preserved lemons in the bottom of the pot.

5. Put the chicken on top of the onions and preserved lemons. Add enough water to just submerge the chicken. Add the pinch of saffron.



6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Serve with rice to help soak up the extra juices.

Enjoy!

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