The chicken was an overall success. Such layers of flavors! Too many layers, sadly; I lost the kumquat flavor entirely. Just a hint of citrus was all that remained. I’m going to try them with a simpler flavor profile next time.
Moroccan Chicken with preserved kumquats and olives
8 garlic cloves
1 bu. cilantro
½ chopped onion
2 T. vinegar
2 T. olive oil
2 T. smoked paprika
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
½ t. cayenne
¼ t. saffron threads
Chicken thighs, bone-in, skinless
½ onion, finely sliced
¾ cup oil cured black olives
1/3 c. chopped preserved kumquats
Process first 11 ingredients into a paste. Cover chicken with paste and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced onion, carrots, olives and kumquats in dish. Add chicken and spice paste. Add a bit of water, if needed. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Transfer to platter. Reduce sauce if needed and spoon over chicken and vegetables.
In a shallow dish on my kitchen counter sat two handfuls of kumquats, compliments of my CSA. What does one do with two handfuls of kumquats? Not that I don’t know what to do with kumquats, I made a delicious Moroccan kumquat marmalade with last year’s bounty, but that required two copious pounds, not a measly few handfuls. The tedious process of slicing and seeding kumquats that’s required for a proper marmalade isn’t worth the trouble for the small, single, half-pint jar.
I stood staring at those kumquats for a few days…Moroccan marmalade or what? Somehow the thoughts of Moroccan cooking (memories of my culinary school final project) lead me to one of my favorite condiments – preserved lemons. I adore salty, sour, bitter, spicy preserved lemons added to gelato or braised chicken or a myriad of other dishes. I’ve been waiting months for my lemon tree to ripen allowing me to produce another batch – and then it came to me (shebang!) – preserved kumquats, of course!
Rinse two handfuls of kumquats. Score rind about 1/4 inch deep. In a saucepan, combine kumquats, about 2.5 c. water and 3T. kosher salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes until rind becomes slightly transparent. With slotted spoon, transfer kumquats to canning jar. Add 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 t. coriander seeds and 2 t. black peppercorns. Press kumquats down slightly to release juice. Add reserved salted water to cover kumquats and fill jar. Seal.
They’ll be ready by Sunday, when I’ll be testing them in “Moroccan chicken with preserved kumquats and black olives”. Stay tuned.