Molokhia with Spiced Chicken
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HR
- SERVINGS: 4 to 5
Molokhia gets its name from a dark leafy green of the same name. Also known as Jew’s mallow, it develops an okra-like viscosity when cooked and is an acquired taste for some. In Lebanon, writer Salma Abdelnour grew up eating molokhia served with crispy pita croutons and a drizzle of dressing made with red wine vinegar and onion. But Egyptians often serve the dish without these garnishes, as in this recipe from Eric Monkaba.
- One 3 1/2-pound chicken
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 rosemary sprig
- One 4-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- One 14-ounce package frozen molokhia (see Note) or two 10-ounce packages chopped frozen spinach
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Steamed short-grain rice, for serving
- In a large, deep pot, cover the chicken with the onion, rosemary, cinnamon stick and bay leaf and 12 cups of water. Top with a small plate to keep the chicken submerged and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let cool slightly, then cut into wings, breasts, thighs and drumsticks and pat dry.
- Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl. Skim off the fat. Return 2 cups of the broth to the pot; reserve the remaining broth for another use. Add the molokhia to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using the side of a knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1 tablespoon of the coriander. In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the garlic paste and cook over moderately high heat until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the paste into the molokhia and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of coriander with the ground cinnamon, cumin, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the spices. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and heated through and the skin is crisp, about 4 minutes.
- Mound rice in the center of 4 or 5 shallow bowls and top with the chicken. Ladle the molokhia around the chicken and serve.
The poached chicken and broth can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Molokhia (other spellings include molokia) is available at Middle Eastern markets. The leaves are usually sold frozen. Spinach is a fine substitute.
Fresh, full-bodied French white such as a Rhône-style blend.