Saturday, 14 July 2007

Syrian Chicken

Karen Martini is a legend. Apart from the fact that she named her baby Stella (an excellent choice, I feel) she manages to devise recipes that are absolutely packed with flavour, but still maintain a rustic, bistro vibe (it's Mabo) to them that just makes you want to rush out and buy all of the ingredients immediately (it also makes you want to give her a big cuddle and mumble, "thank you," into her ample bosom. Or perhaps that's just me). Her cookbook, appropriately titled, Where the Heart is has been in my possession for around six months now, and I have already cooked at least twenty recipes from it. Considering the number of cookbooks (not to mention food mags) I own, this is high praise indeed. Karen Martini is personally responsible for every purchase of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine I buy. Since receiving the precious cookbook as a Christmas gift, I've noticed that a number of the recipes have already been published in a glossy Fairfax mag, or dumbed down for Broken Homes and Gardens. Sometimes though, Karen pulls a swifty, and stuns us all with a weekend recipe that we won't be able to find elsewhere. Take this Syrian Chicken recipe, for example. It's been published twice (on request) in the Sun Herald and Sunday Life in the past twelve months. I, for one, cannot get enough of it. Eat - then let me know if you agree.

Syrian Chicken

2 tspn salt
2 tspn ground cumin
2 tspn ground cinnamon
1 tspn ground turmeric
1 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1.4 - 1.6 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces
100ml olive oil
5 cloves garlic, bruised
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 red chillies, split
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 pinches saffron threads
1/2 tspn cumin seeds
5 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tbspn honey
100g currants
2 tbspn vegetable stock powder
1/2 bunch of coriander

Combine salt, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and turmeric in a large bag, add chicken and shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for around 3 minutes, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add tomatoes, saffron, cumin seeds and thyme and cook for 2 minutes.

Return chicken to pan and add lemon zest, juice, honey, currants, stock powder and enough water to cover. Cook, covered for 10 - 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in coriander and serve with couscous and roasted vegetables.

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David Bowie said...

i would like to point out that in your list of ingredients, you left out the onions. I went and picked up the ingredients only to get home and find that when I arrived at:

Add onions, ginger, garlic and chillies to pan and cook for around 3 minutes...

I was feeling a little bit crazy wondering how I missed the onions. ;)

Anna said...

Sorry David - situation has now been rectified... though a little too late for your dinner :-)

Anna said...

By the way - My husband wants to know if you will sign his (way too small) limited edition, 'Serious Moolight' tour t-shirt. It would fetch a bit on e-bay.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, and acknowledging that you and the author of this recipe may be very good cooks and that this chicken may be very delicious but Syrians do not use ginger and turmeric in their cooking.