Baked lemon chicken and potatoes
It's hard to believe that preparation is so simple and requires so few ingredients, but that's precisely the secret of its flavor.
Every Passover, this contribution to the holiday table is made by my brother, Dr. Yossi Rosenblum. The family refuses to forgo either the beauty or the delicious taste of this dish. It's hard to believe that preparation is so simple and requires so few ingredients, but that's precisely the secret of its flavor. Part of that secret is a good-quality, fresh chicken (a must!) and the fact that my brother, a talented and intuitive cook, has been preparing it in precisely the same way for 15 years now.
The recipe is simple, but there's nothing simple about the amazing and festive outcome.
2 fresh, good-quality, whole chickens
2 lge. lemons
6 potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise in wedges (or cubed)
about 4 sprigs rosemary
1. Cut off the top and bottom of the lemons and save the ends.
2. Place a sprig of rosemary and a lemon inside each chicken and close the opening with a toothpick.
3. Put the chickens in a baking pan, salt lightly, and place the ends of the lemons under the wings.
4. Put another sprig of rosemary on top of each chicken.
5. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cook the chickens in the oven, legs down, for an hour.
6. While they bake, prepare the potatoes: peel and slice into long wedges.
7. After they've baked an hour, turn the chickens over (legs up) and arrange the potatoes all around them in the pan.
8. Baste everything with the accumulated gravy. Put a few more sprigs of rosemary on top of the potatoes.
9. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees and put the chickens back in the oven for another hour or hour and a half.
Chicken in pickled lemon, baked in a clay pot
From the Erez restaurant in Herzliya
Let me say right up front that it's better to come and eat this delicacy at Erez Komarovsky's restaurant, where it's baked in a brick tabun (oven), in bread dough, as part of a general overhaul in the restaurant's menu. Among other things, the grill is no more, having been replaced with the brick oven, in which the meat, the bread and the laffa (huge thin pita) are all baked. This is a big change from barbecue: The chicken in this recipe is oven-baked in a deep clay pot - whole, seasoned chicken alongside eggplants and various kinds of dough. Wow!
The menu at the restaurant is now Middle Eastern: baked eggplant stuffed with lamb and tehina; spongy, Arab breads; a whole series of seasonal salads, every one sensational. Occasional items come from elsewhere, like the Thai celery salad that must be tasted; the celery heart in lemon; and the stir-fried pears in sage with roasted walnuts and Roquefort. Yummy. Then there are the vegetables, like the artichokes (meat-filled) and the shavings of wild fennel (served fresh).
It's my pleasant duty to mention the financial part of this menu, which is, indeed, cheaper than formerly - in deference to "the situation."
But if you have a clay pot, Komarovsky says: Take a nice, fresh chicken and put it inside the pot. Put one halved onion inside the chicken, along with a handful of pickled lemon (from Pereg Spices) chopped coarsely. Over the chicken sprinkle chopped rosemary and crushed garlic, and underneath it or alongside it in the pot, insert peeled parsley root and peeled pieces of celery heart. Mix salt, white pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil and half a bottle of white wine, and rub into the chicken. Now bake 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celcius, lower the temperature to 160 degrees and bake another 30 minutes.
Chinese chicken in lemon, ginger and pineapple
This is only a version of the wonderful and winning recipe still served in the Chinese restaurant, Yin Yang. The secret this time is to be sure the chicken is free of any veins and fibers, to have all the ingredients at hand, and to cook some white rice - a great complement to the lemony flavor - ahead of time. Hint: Though it's not Chinese at all, sprinkle the rice with a little lemon juice and grated lemon peel before you cook it.
1 sm. onion
2 lemons, free of any discoloration
400 gr. chicken breast, clean of fat and veins
1 can chopped pineapple
For the marinade:
white of 1 egg
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. of the liquid from the canned pineapple
salt and white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
For the sauce:
1 cup of liquid from the canned pineapple
grated rind of one lemon
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
4 tbsp. oil
cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp. water
1 chopped scallion
1. Wash the lemons, halve lengthwise and slice (with the rind) into thin slices.
2. Cut the chicken into 2-cm. cubes. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix ingredients for the marinade, and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
3. In another bowl, combine ingredients for the sauce.
4. Heat the oil in a pan. When it's very hot, fry the chicken in it, stirring constantly, until the meat turns white. Add the sliced lemons and pineapple and fry, stirring, for another minute or so. Add the sauce and stir lightly. When the sauce boils, add the cornstarch dissolved in water, bring to the boil again, transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped scallion on top.