Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons and olives

Something that often frustrates me with roast chicken is all the juices that go to waste, and modern chickens have a lot of water in them. This Moroccan dish collects all that into a more-ish stew of lightly assembled flavours to great effect.

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint
A preserved lemon, flesh separated, skin sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp toasted and ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 generous pinches saffron, soaked for half an hour in 2 tbsp boiling water
A chicken, jointed into 6 pieces
300g waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced
300g ripe, acid free or Roma tomatoes, peeled and quartered
125g purple or green olives
3 tbsp olive oil
Mint and parsley sprigs for garnish
A large tagine or oven dish

Place the parsley, mint, flesh of the preserved lemon and garlic in the food processor and blend. Add the spices and saffron water. Rub this paste or chermoula over the chicken.

Lay the potatoes on the bottom of a tagine or soaked chicken brick, then the chicken, then the preserved lemon and and lastly the tomatoes. Pour over the olive oil. Put the lid on.

Bake at 180’C or simmer on the stove top for half an hour. Add the olives and cook for another 15 mins.

Place the dish on the table and garnish with sprigs of mint and parsley. Serves 6.

From: Peta Mathias

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John Dory with tomatoes

Classic Italian flavours and a beautifully simple preparation.

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
3 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tb flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

half a small green capsicum, finely chopped
1 x 1 kg whole John Dory, cleaned

Heat garlic in the oil in a large non-stick pan until it starts to sizzle. Add tomatoes and break them up. Add salt, chilli, capsicum and parsley and simmer 2o mins.

Add fish to the pan, turning over to coat with the sauce, cover and cook on low heat for around 12 minutes and just done. Baste with the sauce several times and turn half-way through.

This works as well with fillets, of other firm white fish, and a shorter cooking time. Take the pan to the table and serve onto everyone’s plates.

Source: Rick Stein’s Seafood Odyssey

White rice

I have a permanent dispute with my wife over how to cook rice. This method from The Guardian collates the best advice.

Take 450 g basmati rice, rinse briefly and soak in cold water for 30 minutes, drain well.

Place in a wide pot over medium heat with 585 ml cold water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 25 minutes.

Remove from heat, stand 5 minutes.

The amount of water is likely different for Jasmine (Thai) rice. I will update the post when I’ve worked that out.

eggplants in mustard tsukemono

An usually hearty and spicy Japanese tsukemono (pickle).

500 g thin long eggplants
2 tsp / 10 grs salt
100 ml water
1 tbsp hot english mustard (Colemans’s)
1,5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar

Cut eggplant into irregular bite-sized pieces wioth the rangiri technique. Mix with salt, add water and weigh down with a plate and weights. Let stand for 4-5 hours until a lot of liquid has been released. Drain and squeeze out moisture. Blend mustard and the rest of the ingredients. Add to the drained eggplant and mix. Serve topped with chopped shiso, shiso seeds or some yukari powder.

From: Tsukemono – Ikuko Hisamatsu