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Syrian Chicken {recipe}

Surian Chicken 2

My sister in law introduced me to Syrian chicken a couple of years ago – a wonderful dish from the Middle East with meltingly tender chicken pieces in a warm medley of nourishing flavours that include hints of herbs and fruit. An incredibly satisfying dish that is also quite moorish and will have you taking a little more and then a little more and more still…

We made it to counteract and little Winter blast (just to remind us it really is Winter), before we head off to Miami for a little sunny soujourne.  I am envisaging a few glamourous days of drinking cocktails poolside but I fear that they will be mocktails amongst a mess of milkshakes, fries and random bits of burger – still, there is fun to be had. Enjoy the chicken!

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.4 – 1.6 kg chicken, cut into 8 pieces
100 mls olive oil
5 cloves garlic, bruised
2 brown onions, thickly sliced
100 grams fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 red chillies, split
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 pinches saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons honey
100 grams currants
2 tablespoons 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.

Yield: serves 6

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