6 hours ago
Monday, December 10, 2012
If you are a food blog reader or a cookbook addict, then you already know that Yotam Ottolenghi's new cookbook JERUSALEM is a mega hit.
I like it even better than his book PLENTY, if that's possible.
I know nothing about Middle Eastern cuisine, except the few times I have had it (mostly at Lebanese places), I have loved every bite.
Lots of lentils, chickpeas, rice, lamb, sumac, sesame and other earthy flavors, make this cuisine delicious and rich, yet healthy.
It's not a book about Israel or kosher foods at all, so forget that notion.
Mr. Ottolenghi owns a few wildly successful restaurants in London and is of Jewish Israeli (Italian father) descent, his partner Sami Tamimi is Palestinian, from East Jerusalem.
These recipes are from all over Jerusalem, some of them Sami's mother, some of them Yotam's mother's (who is of German descent).
Go figure, an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian working and living in harmony.
Of course, it's always food that brings everyone together.
I want to make everything in this book, but I started with the Roasted Chicken w/ Arak and Clementines, though I had no idea what "arak" was.
Arak is a liquor, with an anise flavor sold in most Middle Eastern neighborhoods, however, I could not find any, so the author suggests Pernod (French), or Ouzo (Greek) as a substitute.
Well, I had Sambuca (Italian) in the house, probably a little sweeter than Arak, but that is what I used and it came out delicious.
This is the perfect dinner party dish and one of the most delicious ways to prepare otherwise boring chicken.
You can assemble it all the day before and let the flavors marinate overnight, then just roast before serving.
The clementines and fennel get nice and caramelized and the liquor burns off, and just leaves a faint hint of anise. Amazing stuff.
I served this dish w/ the basmati rice, chickpeas, currants and herbs from the book.
I think I will make this for Rosh Hashanah or Passover, it just reminds me of holiday time.
Everyone loved it on a Sunday night in December.
*If you are on my holiday gift list, you will probably be receiving this book for Christmas, so the cats out of the bag.
Roasted Chicken w/ Clementines & Arak (adapted from JERUSALEM): serves 4
6 tbsp of Arak (substitute Pernod or Ouzo)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp grainy mustard
3 tbsp light brown sugar
Mix these 6 ingredients together in a bowl to make the marinade, and set aside.
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into wedges (about 6 cuts)
1 large chicken, cut into eight pieces (or just buy 8 chicken thighs w/ skin and bones)
4 clementines, UNPEELED, cut horizontally into 1/4" pieces
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
flat leaf parsley to garnish
In a large bowl, add the sliced clementines with the chicken pieces and the fennel.
Pour the marinade over everything in the bowl and mix with your hands until everything is well coated.
Pour all into a large rimmed baking sheet or pan and sprinkle with the thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Everything should be snug, but sitting comfortably in a single layer, with the chicken skin side up.
Let marinate a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight. The longer the chicken sits, the better it is.
Just before serving, heat the oven to 475F and roast the chicken for 35-45 minutes.
Remove the solids in the pan to a serving platter, and boil the remaining marinade in the pan until it is reduced (I skipped this part, and just spooned the liquid over the chicken pieces on the plates).
Pour over the chicken and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.