What better city to celebrate this December than the city of Jerusalem. Hanukkah begins December 8th and Christmas, it seems, has been in full swing for weeks. Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi of London’s famed Ottolenghi restaurants recently paired up to release Jerusalem: A Cookbook, a gorgeous culinary tour full of recipes as diverse as the city’s multi-cultural population. Ottolenghi’s last cookbook, Plenty, became an almost instant kitchen staple for vegetable lovers, producing dishes rich and satisfying enough to please even the most devoted carnivore. Food has a special way of bringing people together. If Plenty allowed vegetable-lovers and meat-lovers to meet in the middle, who knows what Jerusalem might accomplish?
We asked the chefs behind what is sure to become another instant classic to share a few thoughts with us about their favorite foods both from the city and for the season. Their responses had us wishing we’d be eating dinner tonight inside the sacred city. To take us half-way there, we’re loving Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s recipe from inside the cookbook for roasted chicken with – what else? – Jerusalem artichokes and lemon. Savor away!
Favorite Jerusalem food memory:
Ripe figs filling up the trees in summer, then falling off to the ground, sweet and moist and fragrant.
Favorite thing to eat this time of year:
Anything fried. Latkes, apple fritters, fried calamari.
Favorite ingredient to use:
Yoghurt, tahini, ground cardamom, flaked chilli, date syrup, lemon juice, feta, pomegranate molasses, fresh cilantro… The list is endless.
Any special notes about this recipe?
This has got a signature Jerusalem trademark – lemon juice. Jerusalemites love lemon and everything sharp.
Roasted chicken with Jerusalem artichoke & lemon
1 lb / 450 g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 6 wedges 2/3 inch / 1.5 cm thick
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 medium whole chicken, quartered
12 banana or other large shallots, halved lengthwise
12 large cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium lemon, halved lengthwise and then very thinly sliced
1 tsp saffron threads
3 1/2 tbsp / 50 ml olive oil
2/3 cup / 150 ml cold water
1 tbsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
1/4 cup / 10 g fresh thyme leaves
1 cup / 40 g tarragon leaves, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Put the Jerusalem artichokes in a medium saucepan, cover with plenty of water and add half the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, until tender but not soft. Drain and leave to cool.
Place the Jerusalem artichokes and all the remaining ingredients, excluding the remaining lemon juice and half of the tarragon, in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, or for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 475°F / 240°C. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, in the center of a roasting pan and spread the remaining ingredients around the chicken. Roast for 30 minutes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. At this point, the chicken should be completely cooked. Remove from the oven and add the reserved tarragon and lemon juice. Stir well, taste and add more salt if needed. Serve at once.
Reprinted with permission from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.