Braises are not for weeknights. At least, that’s how it used to be before most of us started working from home. With time on our side for once, we can tend to simmering stews and braises on the stove while we work from our home office. Bon Appetit’s Andy Baraghani has a braised chicken recipe that doesn’t take all day, but still requires more attention than the typical weeknight dinner. Called gheymeh, this recipe comes from Baraghani’s Iranian background and incorporates cinnamon, tomato and dried limes to create a flavor bomb of a dish.
The recipe, published below, is part of a new cookbook by the Tasty brand written by food writer Jesse Szewczyk called Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community ($23). Released ahead of Pride Month, the cookbook features recipes written by prevalent members of the food world who are a part of the queer community. A brief explainer accompanies each recipe detailing the creator’s relationship to their dish, and Baraghani’s gheymeh recipe is no exception. While Baraghani and his grandfather didn’t see eye to eye on certain issues, the two found middle ground through food. This wicked stew is the result.
Braised Chicken Legs with Tomato and Split Peas (Gheymeh)
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, about 1½ pounds total
2 tablespoons neutral oil of choice
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup yellow split peas, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup tomato paste
4 dried limes (limoo omani), pierced (see Note), or zest and juice of 2 limes
Flatbread or cooked rice
Tender herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill, cilantro or tarragon
1. Pat the chicken legs dry and season with salt. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, working in batches if necessary, and cook, reducing the heat as needed to avoid scorching, until deep golden brown on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the drippings behind in the pot.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and browned just around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the split peas, turmeric and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the paste begins to split and stick to the pan, about 4 minutes.
4. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken legs to the pot along with the dried limes. Season with salt. Reduce the heat to low and bring to a bare simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is nearly falling off the bone and the juices have thickened, 60 to 80 minutes.
5. Remove the pot from the heat. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the dried limes against the side of the pot to release their juices. Season the stew with salt to taste.
6. Serve the stew with flatbread or over rice, along with a platter of tender herbs to eat in between each bite.
Note: Dried limes are simply limes that have been boiled in salt water and left in the sun to dry. Often added to soups and stews, they have a concentrated, somewhat fermented flavor. You can find them in Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. Pierce whole dried limes a few times with a paring knife before using to release more flavor and aroma. If you can’t find dried limes, use fresh lime or lemon juice and zest or sumac.
Reprinted with permission from Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community by Jesse Szewczyk and BuzzFeed’s Tasty, copyright© 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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