I went to Abu Dhabi this month…
And I came back with dried lemons.
That would be those golf ball-sized items atop the chicken.
They looked much the same even before cooking. The blackness makes them a little alarming (even for someone who eats blachan), so I googled round beforehand for instructions and found some excellent commentary here, with further links:
I also hunted round for some Middle Eastern-type chicken recipes, and in the end concocted my own with green olives and the dried lemons. You’re meant to stab each lemon three or four times to puncture it, then drop it into your stew to infuse.
I rubbed the chicken all over with cumin seed, turmeric and two kinds of paprika – sweet and half-sharp. The next day, I cooked it up with onions, garlic, chopped up olives, raisins, and said lemons, also adding some nice bay leaves – another souvenir from the trip.
It turned out quite nice, especially with this fatoush (green salad tossed with parsley and some stale baguette, cubed and brushed with extra-virgin olive oil) and some grilled eggplant.
It wasn’t as lemony as I was expecting, maybe because it didn’t stew for that long – we were in a hurry (story of my life). I’ll give a go again another day, letting it bubble away longer next time.
My husband was a bit late home tonight, and I’d saved him the leftovers. But someone else got in first.