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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Lemon Garlic Chicken and Potatoes (Jaj iw Batata)

I learned to make this from my grandmother in Syria many years ago. Every time I make it I feel a little nostalgic about childhood summers when she cooked it for us and I'm proud to prepare it for my own children now. Of course I've adapted it slightly to save preparation time, but it still tastes just like my grandma's :)

This is a simpler version of my popular sheesh tawooq recipe because everything gets thrown into one pot and its ready to eat in about 30 minutes. No special produce is required, just some chicken, potatoes, garlic and lemon...ingredients which are pantry staples for most of us.  I make this on nights when I'm pressed for time and my ingredients are limited. Of course squeezing fresh lemons is a more natural way to go, but when I'm in a pinch I've used bottled lemon juice and I'll tell you there's no shame in that game (although my Grandma would probably disown me if she found out I've done this because she's so authentic and natural in her cooking that she even prepares her own red pepper paste...)

This is a great dish for dinner parties because you can prepare it the night before and just place it in the fridge until you're ready to cook it. You can also use your slow cooker, following the same directions except increasing the cooking time to 4-6 hours. 

Ready to cook :)

Serves 4-6

-2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
-2 pounds gold potatoes (or russet, but you need to peel those first)
-1 cup lemon juice (you can add 1/2 cup extra if you like a strong lemon tang)
-1/2 cup minced garlic
-2 tablespoons red pepper paste (found in the ethnic section of large markets or in most Middle Eastern stores)
-1 tablespoon ground coriander
-1 tablespoon lemon pepper (optional)
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup olive oil
-4 cups water

To make
-Cut chicken breast into 1 inch cubes and place in pressure cooker (you can make this in a regular pot but increase the cook time to about 40 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are tender.)
-Wash and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes and add to pot.
-Add lemon juice, minced garlic, red pepper paste, coriander, lemon pepper, salt, olive oil and water.
-Cover pot and pressurize. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 25 minutes.
-Release pressure from your pot,  uncover and stir gently. If you have too little sauce add some water. This is also a good time to adjust the lemon taste by adding more if you need it.
-Serve with pita bread and enjoy!

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