Chicken with Black Limes

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. Plus: Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures Slideshow:  More Braising Recipes 

Chicken with Black Limes
Photo: © Madeleine Hill
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
6

Ingredients

  • 3 black limes, 1 crushed and seeds discarded

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh peeled ginger

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 black cardamom pods, crushed, shells discarded

  • 1 pinch saffron

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 medium onions, chopped

  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

  • Steamed rice, for serving

Directions

  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.

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