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Yakhni batata 

This potato and chicken stew gives you that hug in a bowl you crave in the winter

We mostly associate stews with a warm bowl of goodness eaten on a cold winter’s day, but what if I told you that I had the perfect stew for summer! As the Arabic saying goes “Warmth is good, even in the middle of summer”. This potato and chicken stew gives you that hug in a bowl you crave in the winter, without the risk of overheating.

I love this stew because it is so lemony and garlicy, making is a nice fresh option in the summer. It is important that we skim off any of the foam produced from the chicken so that we have a tasty broth, as it is the base of this stew. I like to use bone-in chicken legs because they have lots of flavour, but you could use bone-in breast or even a whole chicken! You could use boneless chicken, but the broth won’t be as flavourful. Many people like to keep the chicken whole, but I like to shred it to make it easier to eat. Alternatively, you could make a vegetable stock and add the potatoes, leaving out the chicken.

Whenever I use lemon in any dish, I always make sure to use the zest. It has a more intense flavour than the juice, so I am keen to use that to add another layer of flavour. Along with lemon, another major flavour in this dish is garlic. I use lots of garlic and it gives a wonderful flavour to the broth, but feel free to use less if you prefer. There is also the dry and fresh coriander, both of which give different flavours and layers to the dish, and together with the lemon and garlic, the broth is light, refreshing and zesty.

This dish is not only good to taste, but also good for you. We all know the benefits of lemons and garlic: great for your immune system, digestion, heart, blood pressure and your bones, among other things. However, coriander’s benefits are not so well-known. Some of its benefits include lowering your blood sugar, benefiting heart health, and this may also improve brain health. Don’t you love when food is both delicious and nutritious?

Serve this over vermicelli rice and an extra squeeze of lemon for good measure and enjoy this winter comfort any time of year.

Ingredients

Serves 4

Broth

1 tbsp oil

3 chicken legs, separated (or any bone-in chicken pieces)

1 onion, quartered

1 bay leaf

3 cloves

7 cardamom pods

Cinnamon stick

Black pepper

Water

Stew

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

Oil for frying

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp mixed spices

3 garlic cloves, mashed

Juice and zest of 3 lemons

Salt

Pepper

Garnish

5-6 garlic cloves, mashed

½ cup chopped coriander

2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. To make the broth, heat the oil and add the chicken, browning it slightly. Add the onion and spices and mix. Add the water and let it come to the boil. Skim off any scum, lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Top up the water to make sure the chicken is always submerged and the water is about 2 inches above the chicken. We need a good amount of broth to make the stew.
  2. Heat oil and fry the cubed potatoes. You don’t want the potatoes to be too small, otherwise they will break in the stew. Alternatively, you could air fry the potatoes or drizzle with olive oil and brown them in the oven. Once the potatoes are golden brown, remove and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. The potatoes do not need to be cooked through, as they will cook in the broth later.
  3. Drain the chicken once it is cooked, but make sure you keep the broth. Place the potatoes and broth in a pot and place on medium heat. Add the garlic and spices, followed by the lemon zest and juice.
  4. Remove the chicken from the bones and add to the broth. Leave to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking.
  5. To make the garnish, heat the oil with the garlic and chopped coriander. Sauté until the garlic begins to brown and the coriander crisps up. Pour into the stew and let cook for a minute.
  6. Serve over vermicelli rice with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

Want to try another recipe? Cardamom and vanilla cupcakes with date and tahini frosting

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