Organic Chicken thighs with lemon and spinach
This dish normally calls for preserved lemons but I was all out. So, I used a little lemon zest with a little juice. The base from this recipe came from a North African cookbook where preserved lemons are a big staple of their diet. Preserved lemons are easy to make at home and simply are lemons rubbed in salt, submerged in brine and cured.
A whole cut up chicken works great but I like the speed and flavor of the chicken thighs. This is a very healthy dish, especially if we use organic chicken thighs and vegetables. The spices included are recognized as some of the best for us. Anti-inflammatory, cholesterol busting spices that add bunches of flavor. This can be eaten in a bowl by itself but brown rice in the bottom of the bowl isn’t a bad idea.
Organic chicken thighs with lemon and spinach
I prefer to use all organic ingredients
- 3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- I rib of celery finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, (about 3/4 cup) peeled and diced fine
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 6 oz of washed raw baby spinach
- 3 TBSP of chopped fresh cilantro
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 TBSP of lemon juice
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 and ½ TBSP EVOO
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp paprika
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 300F. Rinse and dry the chicken thighs. Heat medium sized enamel Dutch oven (4-6 qt.) on medium high. When heated add ½ the EVOO, so it just starts to smoke. Add the thighs and remaining oil in batches, usually 3 thighs at a time, browning slightly on each side. Repeat until all thighs are browned. Turn the heat down to medium and add the celery, carrot and onion. Cook until the onions become soft, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the ½ cup of chicken stock, removing all the nice brown bits off the bottom. Add in the lemon zest and juice, spices, and cilantro. Stir, combining all ingredients. Add back in the chicken and cover. Bring to a light boil on the stove. When lightly boiling, put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven. Cook covered for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven and stir in the spinach, just wilting. Serve immediately in shallow bowls. The chicken will have released plenty of liquid to pair with the meat. Put the chicken in each bowl over rice or by itself. Top with the juice and vegetables. Adjust for salt and pepper.
Tips: If you like chicken breasts instead add another 15 minutes or so to the cooking time. Be cautious not to add too much stock because the chicken when cooking (covered) will release a lot of liquid. If you think you have too much liquid in the Dutch oven the lid can be removed the last 15 minutes. Be careful not to dry out the meat. Your joints should feel better, your nose should run and your heart should sing. Enjoy!