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Chicken with Black Limes
© Madeleine Hill

Chicken with Black Limes

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 50 MIN Plus overnight marinating
  • SERVINGS: 6
  • MAKE-AHEAD

Black limes, a staple of Middle Eastern cooking, give this amazing braised chicken an intense tanginess. Ideal for all seasons, it's delicious served cold as well.

  1. 3 black limes, 1 crushed and seeds discarded
  2. 1 tablespoon minced fresh peeled ginger
  3. 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  4. 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 4 black cardamom pods, crushed, shells discarded
  8. 1 pinch saffron
  9. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  11. Kosher salt
  12. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  13. 3 medium onions, chopped
  14. 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  15. 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  16. 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
  17. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  18. 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  19. 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  20. Steamed rice, for serving
  1. In a mortar, combine the crushed black lime with the ginger, fennel seeds, Aleppo pepper, turmeric, garlic, cardamom seeds and saffron; using the pestle, finely grind the mixture. Gradually stir in the olive oil. Scrape the paste into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat, then seal and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season with salt. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add half the chicken and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the casserole. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Add the stock, apricots, tamarind and whole black limes and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the casserole, cover and braise in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent with foil; discard the black limes. Simmer the sauce over moderately high heat until reduced by one third, about 7 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley and mint and season with salt; serve with steamed rice.
Make Ahead Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the casserole. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Add the stock, apricots, tamarind and whole black limes and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the casserole, cover and braise in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent with foil; discard the black limes. Simmer the sauce over moderately high heat until reduced by one third, about 7 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley and mint and season with salt; serve with steamed rice.