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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sheesh Tawooq (Chicken and potatoes with a lemon garlic sauce)

This is the dish that is most often requested from me by my friends. A few months ago I hosted a cooking party and this was what I demonstrated...don't be discouraged as you scroll to the list of ingredients...yes, there seems like a lot but A) most of them are spices, and B) if you're trying to prepare in advance this is a great recipe because you can get the chicken marinated and ready and the sauce mixed up the day before you need to cook this. This makes it an ideal dish for entertaining. The leftovers are awesome too because the chicken and potatoes just absorb the flavor from the sauce and taste even more amazing than when they were first made.  I learned this recipe from my mom. The potato part of this dish was french fries, and they were always yummy. But they were fried....and I don't fry. Anything. Ever. So the roasted potato version of this recipe was born and it has gained such a following that my mom doesn't make her's with french fries anymore either :) In fact, she doesn't make it at all and requests it from me whenever she wants it!

There are several key ingredients that contribute to the moistness of this chicken. First is the yogurt. It's such an amazing tenderizer, I always use it in any marintaed chicken recipe! Second is the vinegar. Because of its high acidity, this is a key ingredient for tenderizing AND getting rid of that gross chicken-y smell and taste. I don't like to season my chicken with lemon because I've found that it dries it out and makes it easier for the chicken to burn faster, but the vinegar still gives a good tang.

So go ahead, try this out and let yourself be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it came together and how delicious it is!

Serves 5


-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes

*Chicken Marinade
-1/2 cup fat free yogurt
-2 tablespoons white vinegar
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
-1 tablespoon ground coriander
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon ground cardamom
-1 tablespoon red pepper paste
-optional: 3 garlic cloves, mashed
-2 tablespoons McCormick steak seasoning (optional but I ALWAYS season chicken and meat with this and I LOVE it)
-salt and pepper according to taste ONLY IF YOU ARE NOT USING steak seasoning mentioned above. Otherwise don't salt and pepper the                                                     chicken


-2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes (you can use any other kind of potato, but I like like the texture of Yukon gold and I love that I can skip peeling them)
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 tablespoon mashed garlic (about 3 cloves)
-1 tablespoon red pepper paste
-1 tablespoon McCormick steak seasoning or salt and pepper to taste

-3 cloves of garlic (use more for a spicier sauce), mashed (only use fresh garlic for this part of the recipe)
-2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil. If you use 1/4 cup your lemon flavor will be stronger.
-1 tablespoon red pepper paste (yes, I'm obsessed with this stuff)
-salt and pepper to taste

To make
-Prepare chicken marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a ziplock bag, foil tray or any other container in which you will be placing the chicken. I like to use something disposable to speed up cleanup.
-Once the ingredients for the marinade are mixed together, taste it and adjust seasoning ratio to your liking. Sometimes I add more salt, sometimes I add more spices.
-Place cut up chicken in the marinade and stir around until all the pieces are coated in the marinade.
-At this point you can refrigerate the chicken up to 24 hours. The longer it sits in the marinade the more flavorful it will be. If your are short on time, a quick 30 minute marinade is good enough.

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil (I'm all about the breezy cleanup!) and add the potatoes, olive oil, garlic, red pepper and seasoning and stir to coat all the potatoes.
-Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are soft on the inside and browned on the outside.
-Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, until it is tender and cooked through and slightly browned on the outside.

-Prepare the lemon garlic sauce by mixing together the fresh garlic, lemon juice, oil, red pepper paste, salt and pepper in a small bowl. This refrigerates really well and can be made in advance.
-Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and plate your potatoes on a serving platter. Add the chicken above the potatoes and drizzle the sauce over the chicken and potatoes.
-Serve and enjoy :)

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  1. Replies
    1. I've found red pepper paste in different varieties at most Middle Eastern markets in California. Just be careful of the spice content in the pepper, I like to buy the jars that are labeled "mild"