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Preserved Lemon and Pomegranate Chicken with Blood Orange Salsa

We’re all brave, and we’re all fearful.

I can be pretty fearless in the kitchen. I throw flavors together like a drunk college student, and they generally work out pretty well.

But for no apparent reason, I’m terrified of any sort of preserving. Sure, I can quickle with the best of them – hello pickled onions – however some things just intimidate the bejesus out of me.

Like preserved lemons.

I keep contemplating making them. And even starting to make them. But then the nervous part of my brain kicks in and I just end up looking at a bunch of sliced lemon and some kosher salt.

Then I make a cocktail with the lemon and salt.

Because, “When life hands you lemons,” right?

My mother, on the other hand, is far more fearless about preserving than I am.  A few weeks ago, we were chatting and somehow preserved lemons came up.

“I don’t know why the thought of making them makes me a bundle of nerves!”

“Well, everyone gets nervous about weird things. There’s no shame in that. I’ll tell you what, I have a whole bunch of lemons I bought at the store and I can give preserving a couple of them a shot for you if you’d like.”

If “I’d like?”

So, I came home from my parents’ house last weekend with a jar of these bad boys, and I’m halfway through the jar.

They’re salty, bright, and oh, so, lemony.

In other words, everything I had been looking forward to.

So, thanks Mom.

And this is the recipe I keep making over and over.

I hope you like it.

Preserved Lemon and Pomegranate Chicken

Serves 2.

Chicken Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

1 large preserved lemon slice, roughly chopped, not rinsed

1 small shallot, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon ground cumin

6 chicken tenders

Blood Orange Salsa Ingredients:

1 small blood orange, divided into segments and sliced

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 ½ teaspoons preserved lemon liquid


In a mini-food processor, combine the olive oil, lemon, shallot, molasses, and cumin. Process until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a large, resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, and close tightly. Work the bag with your hands, until all the chicken is well covered. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, combine all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Reserve.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Place the chicken on the grill, and discard marinade.

Grill for 5 minutes, flip, and grill for 3-4 minutes more or until the chicken registers 165 degrees.

Place the chicken on a platter and top with salsa.

(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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