Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New cookbook, new inspiration

Received Yotam Ottolenghi's beautiful cookbook, Jerusalem, for my birthday that was earlier this month. I've always loved middle eastern cuisine so I was excited to get cooking!  These recipes are bursting with flavors such as from cumin, chili, arak, and more...and some of the complex flavor combinations as my friend pointed out, are indeed restaurant-level, though preparation is simple enough and doable for any foodie.

The first dish I made was "Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak" - I substituted some vodka for the arak (next time I will buy some Pernod, have not seen arak in Beijing) my boyfriend Lukas likes anise flavors.  I admit Pernod would have added a more anise-edge to this dish. I made it after work so I only marinated the chicken for 1 hour..apparently all it needed as it was still very flavorful (maybe because I made the full amount of sauce for 3 legs). All in all it was delicious and we ate every last bite.The chicken achieved a nicely browned skin and was incredibly moist. The grain mustard added a richness to the sauce while the clementine skin added a slight bitter bite that balanced out the dish and complemented the fennel. 

I will definitely make this for a dinner party next time probably with some saffron or cardamom rice -- sophisticated flavor and very easy to make (hooray for throwing things in one roasting pan)! Also it's a perfect fall dish as both clementines and fennel are in season. 
(apologies for low quality photos...from my phone)

Recipe (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)

6 Tablespoons Arak (or Ouzo or Pernod)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons grainy mustard
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
11/2 Teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
2 medium fennel bulbs cut lengthwise and then into quarters
1 2 pound organic or free-range chicken divided into 8 pieces
4 Clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Parsley, to garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together arak,oil, orange and lemon juices, mustard, brown sugar and salt. Season with pepper, to taste.

2. Trim and halve the fennel bulbs lengthwise and cut each section into 4 wedges. Add the fennel, chicken, clementine slices, thyme and crushed fennel seeds to the bowl. Marinate well with hands. Marinate chicken for several hours or preferably overnight in the fridge. If you are pressed for time you can skip this step.

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a large roasting pan. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven.

4. Lift chicken, fennel and clementines on a serving plate. Cover and keep warm.

5. Pour cooking liquid into a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce is reduced and you are left with about 1/3 cup. You can degrease by using a spoon to remove some of the fat from top of the sauce.

6. Pour heated sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley and serve.


1 comment:

  1. Emy commented to me, after reading this, how charming your writing style is . . . not to mention your great EATS! I agree!!