The preserved lemons I made a few weeks ago is now ready to use. And I have always wanted to see how cooking with preserved lemons would be. I don’t have a tagine for me to make the most well-known dish that uses preserved lemons. I have always liked lemons when I make roast chicken, so I thought hey let’s give this a try to see how it goes.
It was a success – the lemons weren’t too overpowering, and when I bit into the preserved lemon rind, it gave a rather different lemon flavour. It was more lemon but without the sharp tang that you usually associate with lemon. I think what I am trying to say here is that it is smoother than I expected. If you don’t have preserved lemons, you can use just normal lemon juice and double the amount.
You can roast some potatoes around the chicken if you want to, or even roast the chicken on its own.
- 1 chicken, about 2kg, cleaned
- 4-5 pieces of preserved lemons
- 1 lemon, juice and the fruit.
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, roasted in foil
- 1-2 tbsps of finely chopped parsley
- 1 heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 3-4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, according to taste
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
- Remove the pulp from the rind of the preserved lemons. Set the pulp aside, and cut the pieces of preserved lemon into thin strips.
- In a small bowl, mash the roasted garlic with a pinch of salt until soft, and add half of the lemon juice, 1 tbsp of olive oil, the mustard, the parsley and the preserved lemons. Mix thoroughly.
- Place the chicken in a baking tray, with the legs facing you. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the leftover lemon (from when you juiced it) and the lemon pulp from the preserved lemon into the cavity.
- Starting from the cavity, gently separate the skin from the breast (try to do it without tearing off the skin – which I accidentally did). Do this by gently inserting a wooden spoon to separate the skin from the meat, until you create a small pocket. Use your fingers now to create an even bigger pocket, gently. Do it on both sides of the chicken breasts.
- Gently insert and line the pockets with the lemon mixture you just made. Truss the chicken (tie the legs together) or if the skin flap is big enough, you can slide it close like how I did below. If you don’t have kitchen string to tie up the legs, any unflavoured dental floss works fine. (Unflavoured! You don’t want any peppermint on your chicken!).
- Season the chicken skin with pepper and a pinch of salt, and gently rub the leftover lemon juice and 2 tbsps of olive oil on the skin.
- Roast in the oven for about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. Baste the chicken with the juices about 3 – 4 times (every 30-40 minutes) if you can. This will create a crispy and golden skin.
- Once ready, leave the chicken to rest for about 15 minutes before you cut/slice into it.
- Serve with potatoes, or rice. You can try it with the Celeriac and Potato Au Gratin, which goes really well with this!
- Save the juices. Remove as much fat and oil as you can from the top, and you can make a great gravy. You can follow the basic gravy recipe that you can find here: but use the chicken juices instead of stock/water/wine.