OKAY I WON’T LIE. This takes a lot of prep time.
But it’s pretty straight forward. Keep the music on to keep you going. This is a recipe from Greg Malouf, an Australian chef of Lebanese descent. He puts his own spin on classic Middle Eastern dishes. This is no exception. It’s from his book Artichoke to Za’atar.
You can find the recipe here too. I chose not to add as much veg, as the recipe requires. I thought it would be too stodgy. I also didn’t bother with paper and string. I made my parcels out of foil, folding and pinching the sides shut.
HERE’S MY TAKE:
- 1 cup **chermoula (You need to make this beforehand. I used an Ottolenghi one which is part of my recipes. Click here.)
- 100g french puy lentils
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 stalks thyme
- 1 1/2kg chicken pieces on the bone
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 60ml olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
- 400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm dice
- 200g carrots, scraped and cut into 2 cm dice
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 liter chicken stock
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped
*Don’t forget to scroll down for your Savory Sounds cooking soundtrack.
- Place the lentils in three times their volume of cold water with the onion half, cinnamon stick and thyme. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until they are just tender. Strain.
- Mix the flour and paprika. Dust the chicken pieces in the spiced flour. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the chicken pieces and saute until golden. Add the chopped onion, potatoes and carrots and mix well. Add the chermoula, coating all the ingredients, then add the tomatoes, the preserved lemon and the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Add the lentils and cook without the lid. Cook until all the vegetables are tender and the chicken just cooked. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool. (You can do steps 1-3 beforehand and keep the mixture in the fridge.)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Tear foil squares, that are big enough to include some of the chicken and veg mixture. You can make the portions as big/small as you like. Sprinkle with coriander.
- Pull the foil over the mixture and pinch the sides shut. Place the parcels on a baking tray and cover with foil.
- Cook for half an hour and serve individual parcels to each person.
The final product is worth all the effort. It’s a feast in a beautiful parcel!
SINCE THIS DISH HAS NORTH AFRICAN FLAVORS, I thought it would be apt to listen to a Rai rendition of Rock the Casbah by Rachid Taha.
He’s one of my fave Algerian singers, and this is cool cover of a classic song:
Speaking of international music, this is a 1999 Buddha Bar classic:
And this is a Latin track with a similar beat: