The unique flavor of preserved lemons combined with chicken is one of my favorite combinations and this fast one-pot dish gets it on the table in under 30 minutes, allowing you to enjoy them even on a busy weeknight. It is pretty much a meal on it’s own if you are feeding just two or three people and could easily be stretched to five or six if you add a starchy side dish or another vegetable.
It also happens to be completely compliant with the elimination phase of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and other healing protocols and meets the requirements of the Whole30 as well, which I know a lot of people are doing right now to kick off 2018. You can even make it low-FODMAP if you use only the green parts of the leeks!
Ingredient notes #1 – Preserved Lemon
You really cannot substitute regular lemon in this recipe, so if you can’t find yourself a jar of preserved lemons, then just make something else. Sorry to be blunt, but they are truly the star of the show.
You can get preserved lemons at markets that specialize in foods from the Middle East or online. Here is one highly rated variety on Amazon, but I can’t vouch for it myself, because I never buy preserved lemons… I make them myself!
It is actually one of the easiest kitchen projects ever, and right now is the perfect time to make yourself a jar because Meyer lemons are in season and can be purchased at supermarkets throughout the country. There are several tutorials and recipes floating around, but this one from Nourished Kitchen is where I first learned how to do it.
Ingredient notes #2 – Leeks
Leeks vary widely in size, so I really don’t like recipes that call for “one leek” because that could end up being just a little accent in terms of flavor or it could overwhelm the whole dish. For this recipe, it really doesn’t matter. If you have a really big leek (like I did… once I sliced mine I measured it and it was over two cups) it will be a substantial part of the meal. If you don’t love leeks as much as I do, or have a smaller one, then no worries! It will still be delicious, just a little less “leeky” (hah, I crack myself up).
It is very important that you clean leeks thoroughly, or else you will end up eating an unpleasantly gritty meal because they collect a lot of dirt within their layers. If you don’t know how to do that, here is a nice tutorial on leek cleaning.
Notes for healing diets
- Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP): No modifications necessary!
- Specific carbohydrate diet (SCD): No modifications necessary!
- Low-FODMAPs: Use just the green part of the leeks and discard the white.
Chicken with Leeks and Preserved Lemons Recipe
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt and heat coconut oil until shimmering. Add chicken pieces (if using thighs, be sure to place smooth side down first) and cook for 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and let chicken continue to cook undisturbed for 6 more minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 4 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking, clean and slice the leek into about 1 inch rounds and prepare the the preserved lemon by separating the pulp from the peel with your fingers, then mash the pulp and thinly slice the peel.
- When chicken is cooked through, remove and set aside, leaving any fat or juices that came off the chicken in the pan.
- Add leeks to that pan, toss to make sure they are well coated in the fat, and cover. Allow the leeks to steam cook over medium heat until they are vibrant green and softened. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Add broth and lemon pulp. Stir and increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Return chicken pieces to pan and sprinkle lemon peel slices over the top. Cover for just a few moments so the chicken can heat through.
- Garnish with parsley if desired and serve.
Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable
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