Try this delicious recipe for chicken with sorrel and lemon. Not only is it perfect for winter, but it is more than 300 years old! It comes from a cookbook titled De Verstandige Kock (ca. 1668) and has basically stayed unchanged.
If you are an experienced cook, you can try to preserve lemons yourself. The best time to do this is, of course, during winter, when lemons are plentiful and less expensive. (Please see method below)
Recipe for chicken with sorrel and lemon
1 whole chicken, deboned and cut into 8 portions
salt and 1 tsp (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
1 cup (250 ml) chopped spicy sausage (chorizo, lamb saucisson sec, pork bangers or beef sausage)
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) freshly picked thyme leaves
1 piece mace or 1/2 (2.5 ml) grated nutmeg
3 cups (750 ml) verjuice
1 preserved lemon, flesh scooped out, peel finely chopped
2 cups (500 ml) sorrel, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) asparagus chunks (optional)
6 egg yolks, beaten (optional)
juice of 1 lemon
Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat a stovetop casserole dish or large saucepan and brown the butter. Add the chicken and sausage and brown well on all sides. Add the onion, thyme and mace or nutmeg, and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the verjuice and preserved lemon, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes until cooked.
Add the sorrel and asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. The sauce should be thick. (If you wan to enrich the sauce or thicken it even more, whisk in the egg yolks.) Finish with a pinch of salt and lemon juice.
Serve with freshly baked bread, a rocket or watercress salad and a glass of 2018 La Motte Chardonnay.
Recipe for salted preserved lemons
Usually only the peel of the lemon is cut up and used in dishes, while the flesh is discarded. The oil from the preserved lemons is fantastic as a glaze over barbecued dishes and can even be used as salad dressing.
Slice thinly and add to a summer salad or use in a stir-fry with avocado, greens and fish. Or serve with roasted aubergine and lamb chops or traditional Cape chicken pie.
Makes 3 kg
3 kg lemons, cut into wedges or quarters
2 cups (500 ml) coarse sea salt
2 cups (500 ml) lemon juice
2 cups (500 ml) water
Sterilise 4 – 6 large glass jars.
Coat the lemon wedges with the salt, and then pack them into the jars and press down. Place a weight on top and leave for 1 week.
Mix the lemon juice and water and pour into the jars.
Leave for at least 1 month before using.
As soon as the lemons are tender and ripe, you can strain off the liquid and place them in newly sterilised jars. Cover with herbs and vegetable oil.
Usually only the lemon peel is used, while the flesh is discarded. However, you can use the flesh to add flavour to soups and fish stock.