Winter is citrus season and what better way to enjoy the beautiful color and tang of the lemon than to preserve your own. Give some to friends as a unique gift from the heart.
- 10-12 un-waxed lemons
- ¾ cup coarse sea salt
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns 2 bay leaves (fresh is better than dried, but dried will do)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 140°F. Sterilize a large 2 liter capacity preserving jar with boiling water and dry out thoroughly in the oven.
Scrub the lemons and rinse well under cold running water.
- Cut the lemons in quarters lengthwise, leaving the bases intact. Separate the lemon quarters, salt the insides and rejoin. Pack the lemons, base first, to prevent the salt from falling out, into the prepared preserving jar. Scatter with peppercorns and bay leaves and pour in the lemon juice. Pour in enough boiling water to almost fill the jar. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the lemons and weigh this down with something heavy to keep them submerged. Seal the jar and store in a dark place for one to four months.
- Upon opening, remove and discard the baking paper and any white film that has formed on top. Store in the refrigerator.
- When using preserved lemons, remove and discard the flesh and membrane, using the skin (rind). Rinse the rind and add to tagines, salads, pizza or pasta. The preserving liquid may be reused to make the next batch!
Recipe Source: The Moroccan Bible by Rachel Lane (out of print)
The next time your doctor tells you to “eat the rainbow,” try this filling and delicious salad that is a specialty in Lebanon and Syria. Most ingredients can be purchased at your local supermarket or specialty store; you can also seek out Middle Eastern food markets in your area.
- 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 plum tomatoes, chopped and deseeded
- 1 English style cucumber, chopped
- 1 bunch spring onion, white and green side chopped
- 1 bunch chopped parsley 1 bunch chopped mint
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Toasted pita bread
Chop all ingredients into a large bowl. Tomatoes and cucumbers should be thumbnail sized. Sprinkle top with the sumac. Toast pita bread until crispy; peeling it apart and sticking it in an oven on warm will do the trick. In a jar, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste. Roughly break crispy pita bread into 1 inch chunks and sprinkle on salad. Toss with the dressing and serve immediately (if you don’t serve immediately the bread will become soggy).
M'qualli Chicken Tagine
Serves 4 | Prep-time 20 min | Cook Time 60 min
Winter is a time for hibernation and for quiet entertaining. Moroccan tagines were traditionally food of the desert. Bedouins cooked with a clay pot over an open fi re – the original one-pot meal. Despite being fairly simple, they produce an intensely flavorful and stunning meal.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3.5 lbs. chicken cut into pieces (I like skin on dark meat but any part of the bird will work)
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of saffron threads
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 preserved lemons, quartered, flesh discarded and skin sliced
- ½ cup green olives
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Heat the oil in a medium-large tagine or heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chicken (skin side down), onion, garlic, spices and salt and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and the spices are fragrant.
- Pour in one cup stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low; cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Arrange the preserved lemon slices around the chicken and scatter with olives.
- Sprinkle with the parsley and coriander (cilantro).
- Pour in the remaining stock; cover and cook for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Serve with assorted mezze, couscous and fettouche salad.