Monday, March 21, 2011

Meyer Lemon Week #2 - Preserved Lemons...

It rained and rained and rained and rained some more - 50 mile and hour winds, tree branches falling everywhere! 6" of water fell on us in one cycle! We were stuck in the house, and marmalade just wasn't enough. We went a little crazy, and as we had so many lemons from our tree - we just kept making things all day! This is, officially, Meyer Lemon Week on Beyond The Lawn...

Here are today's recipes. We discovered Preserved Lemons when we were in Morocco ten years ago and they are amazing! The first recipe is for preserving the lemons, and the second is an incredibly delicious way to use them...Bon Appetit!

Recipe #1: Preserved Meyer Lemons
adapted from Paula Wolfert's cookbook:
Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco

yield: Serves 6; makes about 1 1/2 cups
active time: 10 minutes
total time: 30 days

Notes: The lemon juice in this recipe cam be used over and over again. (Paula Wolfert says that she keeps a jar of used pickling juice in the kitchen, and when she makes Bloody Marys or salad dressings and have half a lemon left over, she tosses it into the jar and let it marinate with the rest.) Meyer lemons are far and away the most desirable and authentic variety for this recipe. Use wooden utensils to remove the lemons as needed.

Sometimes you will see a sort of lacy, white substance clinging to preserved lemons in their jar; it is perfectly harmless, but should be rinsed off for aesthetic reasons just before the lemons are used. Preserved lemons are rinsed, in any case, to rid them of their salty taste. Cook with both pulps and rinds, if desired.


* 5 lemons
* 1/4 cup kosher salt, more if desired


* Shallow bowl
* Sterile 1-pint mason jar
* Sharp knife


1. Quarter the lemons from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, sprinkle salt on the exposed flesh, then reshape the fruit.

2. Place 2 tablespoons salt on the bottom of the mason jar. Pack in the lemons and push them down, adding more salt, and the optional spices between layers. Press the lemons down to release their juices and to make room for the remaining lemons. (If the juice released from the squashed fruit does not cover them, add freshly squeezed lemon juice — not chemically produced lemon juice and not water.*) Leave some air space before sealing the jar.

3. Let the lemons ripen in a warm place, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Let ripen for 30 days. To use, rinse the lemons, as needed, under running water, removing and discarding the pulp, if desired — and there is no need to refrigerate after opening. Preserved lemons will keep up to a year, and the pickling juice can be used two or three times over the course of a year.


•To sterilize a mason jar for the lemons, place it upside down in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Using tongs (wrap the ends in rubber bands for a better grip), remove the hot jar and dry it upside down on a paper towel-lined baking sheet in a warm oven. To sterilize the jar's top, boil it in water for 5 minutes, then remove with tongs. For more information on home canning, click HERE.

•When you're ready to use a lemon, remove it with clean utensils to avoid contaminating the inside of the jar with bacteria. This way, the remaining contents of the jar will not need to be refrigerated.

RECIPE #2: Chicken With Lemons And Olives Emshmel
adapted from Paula Wolfert's cookbook:
Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco

yield: Serves: 8
time: Working time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour (approximately)

Notes From Paula: I first ate this dish in a home in the city of Meknes, sometimes called the City of Olives. Djej Emshmel (pronounced meshmel or emsharmel) is a classic Moroccan dish—chicken served in an intricately spiced, creamy, lemony, and sublime sauce with a scattering of pale-hued olives.


* 2 to 3 free range, vegetarian chickens, whole or quartered, with their livers
* 6 cloves garlic, peeled
* Salt
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup salad oil
* 2 1/2 cups grated onion, drained
* 1/4 teaspoon pulverized saffron (mixed with turmeric, if desired)
* 1/2 cup mixed, chopped fresh herbs (green coriander and parsley)
* 1 1/2 cups ripe "green-brown" olives, such as Royal-Victorias
* 2 preserved lemon
* 2 to 3 fresh lemons


* Large bowl
* Paring knife
* 6-quart casserole with cover
* Strainer, if necessary
* Small mixing bowl


1. The day before, using 4 cloves of the garlic and 2 tablespoons of salt prepare the chickens as directed below under Basic Method For Preparing Poultry, then marinate both chickens and livers in 1 teaspoon of salt, the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, sliced thin, the spices, and the oil. Refrigerate, covered.

2. The next day, place the chickens, livers, and marinade in the casserole. Add 1/2 cup of the grated onion, the saffron, herbs, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 30 minutes, turning the chickens often in the sauce.

3. While the chickens are cooking, rinse and pit the olives. (If they seem a little bitter, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and drain.) Set aside.

4. Remove the chicken livers from the casserole and mash them fine. Return to the casserole with the remaining grated, drained onions. (This will give a good deal of heftiness to the sauce.) Add water, if necessary. Continue cooking 20 minutes, partially covered.

5. Rinse the preserved lemons (discarding the pulp, if desired) and quarter. Add the olives and preserved lemon quarters to the sauce when the chickens are very tender and the flesh falls easily from the bone. Continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes, uncovered.

6. Transfer the chickens to a serving dish and spoon the olives and lemons around them. Cover and keep warm. By boiling rapidly, uncovered, reduce the sauce to 1 1/2 cups. Add the juice of 2 fresh lemons to the sauce in the pan. Add more salt (and more lemon juice, if desired) to taste. Pour the sauce over chickens and serve at once.

Basic Method for Preparing Poultry
The timing in the recipe includes these steps:

1. Wash the chickens or other poultry in salted water and drain. Pound 4 cloves garlic and 2 tablespoons salt into a paste. Rub the paste into the cavity and flesh of the poultry, at the same time pulling out excess fat from under the skin and from the neck and rump ends. Pull out the thin translucent membrane from under the skin of the breast. Rinse the poultry well under running water until it no longer smells of garlic. (The garlic is used to rid the poultry of any bitterness that might spoil a sauce; it also brings out its flavor, much like MSG.) Drain the poultry well.

2. If you are using whole poultry, it must be trussed. Trussing poultry is easy: clip off the wing tips and discard; slip the ends of the legs into a horizontal incision made just about the rump (turkeys often come this way), or slip the legs into incisions made on the lower sides of the breast.

Yum Yum Yum...

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