or, Winging It with Chicken
We all know that recipes are written for a reason. In many situations, you need the correct proportion of ingredients to get the most balanced flavors and textures. You need to cook or bake at the correct temperature for the optimal time. And, tried and true is often the “safer” choice, especially when entertaining. Or, if you are like me, you generally categorize yourself as a “rule follower”, and following rules or recipes is just in your comfort zone.
Sometimes, though, it really is ok to break out of the comfort zone. Especially if you are cooking something you’ve made hundreds of times before. Like chicken. How many times have I made Kentucky Chicken? How often do I change it up a bit? (Pretty often I admit.)
I was in one of those moods. Time to experiment a little. I decided I would combine some of my favorite flavors to create a juicy, tart and salty chicken to scratch my Sunday cooking itch.
One of my favorite ingredients with which to cook is Peserved Lemons. They really are different from fresh lemons. Tart and salty, the intensely bright lemon flavor and lemony aroma make a dish unforgettable. Pair them with the rich flavor of Kalamata Olives and you have a dish you can serve a dinner party or the family on a weeknight.
I tried to make a marinade filled with many of my favorite flavors: the preserved lemons, Kalamata olives, garlic, fresh Rosemary from my garden, parsley for a clean, fresh flavor. Altogether, these ingredients make a beautiful, flavorful marinade and a juicy, savory chicken dish.
This marinade was so easy to make, and would be so easy to add a variation as well. I’m already thinking about how to add a sweet note to it, like maybe some figs or honey.
So put your rule-following ways aside sometime, and see what you can create! Enjoy!
1 5-lb chicken, cut into pieces or enough bone-in chicken pieces to serve 4-6, patted dry with a paper towel
Peel from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed to avoid over-salting
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 7-8″ sprig Rosemary, stemmed and chopped finely
1 t dried oregano
6 T olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 c pitted Kalamata olives
In a medium bowl or gallon-sized zipper bag, combine the lemon peel, garlic, onions, parsley, Rosemary, oregano, olive oil and pepper.
Arrange chicken pieces in a 13×9 baking pan (or you could marinate in the zipper bag – my chicken was too voluminous to fit). Pour marinade over chicken, making sure each piece is coated. Sprinkle olives around the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 mins and up to several hours.
Remove from refrigerator. Feel free to make sue each chicken piece is still fully coated in marinade. Preheat oven to 400F.
To make sure the skin gets crispy, either give it a brushing with butter (preferred), or pat it dry with a paper towel before it goes into the oven.
Place uncovered pan in oven. Roast chicken pieces 45-60 minutes, until done. Mine were done in 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving with rice, pasta or bread. Enjoy!