Tangy lemon chicken simmered in a rich ground walnuts and herbs
Morgh-e Torsh has the power to transport you to the shores of the Caspian Sea! When visiting my mother this weekend, we spent a good few hours in the kitchen talking about the dishes we used to eat that were specific to the Caspian Sea region and this was the first dish we prepared. Our bodies and minds have a tremendous capacity to store nostalgic memories from our childhood such that after nearly 40 years when I took the first bite of this dish, I instantly remembered the tantalizing familiar flavor!
- 5 bunches of parsley finely chopped
- 5 bunches of cilantro finely chopped
- 1 cup of mint finely chopped
- 4 bunches of green onions finely chopped
- 8 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 cups of walnuts finely ground
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 2 teaspoons turmeric divided
- 6 pieces of chicken breasts, and thighs
- 2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice more to taste
- 2 cups of hot water or more as needed
- Wash and remove the thicker ends of the parsley, cilantro and mint stems and layout on a towel and pat dry. In a food processor, gradually add the herbs and the green onions and pulse until you have a very fine chop. Remove the herbs and set aside. Rinse and dry the food processor bowl and proceed to finely ground the walnuts and set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion for 10 minutes until the onions are golden brown. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and saute for an additional minute. Remove from the pan and set aside in a large bowl.
- In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides on medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Add the remainder of 1 teaspoon turmeric and continue to saute the chicken for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the same bowl as the onions and set aside. I usually keep the fat from cooking the chicken in the pan but feel free to remove part or all of it.
- In the same pan add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil (reduce if you kept the chicken fat in the pan) and all the finely chopped herbs and green onions to the pan. Over medium-high heat, while stirring constantly, saute the herbs for 15-20 minutes. The herbs will first have to get dried out before beginning to saute, so patience is a good virtue here!
- Once the greens have been sauteed adequately and begin to lightly brown, add the ground walnuts and mix for an additional minute. Pour in the hot water and place the chicken and onion mixture on top and gently stir to mix all of the ingredients.
- Cover and bring to a gentle boil before reducing the heat to low and cook for 60 minutes.
- After the chicken has been cooked and become tender, add the salt, pepper and lemon juice and continue to cook for an additional 15 minute for the rich flavors to merge. Turn off the flame, keep covered for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with saffron basmati rice or Persian flatbread.