Preserved lemon chicken is marinated with tangy yogurt creating a vibrant and full flavored recipe. Wrap chicken in lettuce leaves or skewer for kabobs.
I love a good marinade that transforms a simple protein into a punch of flavor. My not so secret-secret weapon that surprisingly isn't as common as I thought....yogurt!
The last few cooking classes and demo's I did was with yogurt marinated something and I was surprised with how many of the students didn't think about using yogurt as a base for a marinade.
Yogurt is a fantastic marinade
Yogurt is a wonderful marinade for most proteins, including chicken. It's creamy and holds on to flavors well, such as spices. Yogurt has a neutral flavor that is easily paired with all sorts of flavors, such as in tandoori burgers. And my favorite thing about yogurt is that it's acidic which helps break down the meat creating an even more tender bite.
The high acidity in yogurt breaks down some of the muscle in proteins and thus, tenderizes meat and ultimately creating a 'melt in your mouth bite.
The other secret ingredient, Preserved Lemons
Preserved Lemons are salt cured whole lemons that have been curing for at least several weeks. The salt draws a lot of the water out of the citrus, making them soft, fragrant and incredible aromatic. The preserved lemon peel can then be used in marinades, such as this one or for salad dressings, rubs, etc. I made my own Preserved Lemons so can you.
A few tips on serving preserved lemon and yogurt marinated chicken
Chicken thighs are used in this recipe, but feel free to use chicken breasts as well. If you have a mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken a bit to soften the meat.
The longer the marinade, the better! A few hours or the morning of is best, but if you have 20 minutes, that will work too.
Use this preserved lemon and yogurt marinade on other proteins such as beef or lamb.
Try different cooking methods, such as grilled or roasted in the oven. If roasting, place on a sheet pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
My favorite way to serve preserved lemon yogurt marinated chicken, is sliced up and rolled in crisp lettuce leaves and topped with chopped salad, fried halloumi cheese, olives and fresh mint.
Preserved Lemon and Yogurt Marinated Chicken
Other Toppings to Serve
- Crisp butter lettuce leaves
- Fried halloumi cheese or feta
- Chopped salad
- Fresh mint leaves
- Lemon wedges
- Pat dry chicken with paper towels and blase in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- To a food processor or blender, add the yogurt, chopped garlic, preserved lemons, olive oil, spices and mint leaves and blend until well combined and no large chunks of lemon or herbs are left over.
- Add marinade to chicken, making sure all of the meat is coated well and marinate for at least 20 minutes or up to 8 hours in the fridge.
- Once you're ready cook, heat a skillet or grill pan over medium heat and drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil in the pan. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing any excess to drip off and cook chicken on first side until browned, for about 4-5 minutes. Don't move the chicken while it cooks so it can develop good color.
- Then flip the chicken and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes and until there is nice charred color.
- When done, remove from pan and let rest for a few minutes. Slice chicken on a diagonal and serve with lettuce leaves and other toppings.
To Fry Halloumi Cheese
- If you haven't fried halloumi before, it's quite easy. Slice halloumi into ½ inch slices. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a non-stick skillet and place on medium high heat. Add cheese slices and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side or until lightly golden brown. Remove from skillet and serve with other toppings.