Crispy Lebanese Chicken (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)

crispy lebanese chicken
Lebanese chicken is my favorite simple childhood meal! It’s usually prepared with just lemon, garlic, sea salt, and maybe some additional spices like oregano, cinnamon or cardamom depending on the grandmother in the kitchen.

 

This version of the recipe combines my favorite chicken thigh preparation a la adding chicken thighs skin side down to a cold pan and then turning the heat up. It crisps the skin slowly so you don’t burn the outside with an uncooked middle. Deelish! Just be sure to either use a splatter guard (which I don’t own) or an apron because chicken fat is the bacon of the poultry clan.

 

This weekend has been so much fun! A perfect summer weekend for my new family full of meet ups with friends, good coffee, spending time out at the lake, and relaxing over some tasty eats. Breastfeeding has further enhanced my relationship with food because now I really, really have to be good about getting 3 or 4 square meals a day or I’m starving, starving, starving. I haven’t been able to eat cruciferous veggies because they were causing her immature digestive system a little too much stress, but I hope to bring them back in around 4 months because they are my absolute favorite. I practically lived on kale during pregnancy!

 

But I’ve really been enjoying food even more lately now that I’m home with her and have more time to plan better and get more creative in the kitchen. This week we had Macadamia and Date Crusted Salmon (recipe to come), Mediterranean Beef & Pork Vegetable Skillet, Herbed Shrimp with Dairy-Free Tzatziki (another recipe to come), and lots of salads with avocado, wild-caught salmon, fresh herbs and tahini (my old-found new-found love). See Salted Tahini-Date Fudge for proof.

 

I also procured an incredible book of vegan ice creams off of Amazon called N’Ice Cream! Holy waffle bowls, it’s an amazing collection of AIP & Paleo-friendly ice creams!!! No gluten or dairy and very, very little grain (a couple recipes with oats). Tons of refreshing pops, instant ice creams that use frozen ingredients and no ice cream maker, and non-instant ice creams using more fresh ingredients like avocados.

 

There’s a recipe for Apple-Mint-Avocado Pops that I’m getting on FAST. The book actually inspired my Macadamia & Date Salmon recipe, which has been my favorite way I’ve consumed salmon in a long time! (By the way, they have a recipe for paleo-friendly gluten-free waffle bowls using coconut sugar, almond flour, and tapioca flour!) While you dream of dairy-free ice cream, go eat your protein first!

 

Crispy bright lemon chicken is the perfect pair with Cauliflower Cous Cous!

 

8 reviews

Crispy Lebanese Chicken

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:18 Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus additional for greasing the pan)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
  • additional sea salt and lemon juice for seasoning

Directions

 

  1. Using a sharp knife, you are going to increase the surface area of the chicken that will crisp in the pan. Make two vertical slices along either side of the bone (do not slice through the skin side) and pull meat away from bone so the chicken thigh lays flat. pan>

  2. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Toss well with the chicken thighs in a large plastic bag or glass container. Marinade in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. pan>

  3. Grease bottom of large cast-iron skillet with a small amount of olive oil. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, to the pan and turn the heat to medium. pan>

  4. Cook chicken thighs until golden and crisp on skin side (about 8 to 10 minutes) then flip and continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked (6 to 8 more minutes). pan>

  5. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and lemon juice and serve with cauliflower rice, and Grain-Free Taboulleh and Roasted Root Vegetables with Garlic Sauce from The Healing Kitchen.  pan>

 

Paleo Date-Filled Arabic Cookies (Ma’amoul)


Growing up with a Lebanese father and very traditional Lebanese extended family, our holidays and celebrations were founded on the four major food groups: hummus, tabbouleh, roast chicken, and ma’amoul. Ma’amoul is a very traditional Arabic cookie made from semolina and butter and filled with a variety of sweets like dates, walnuts, and pistachios. The cookie is a dense, crumbly shortbread-like exterior with a sweet, orange-blossom or rose-water scented filling.

 

Have you tried orange blossom before? It is such a delightful eating experience. The smell of it alone reminds me of sunshine and butterflies but it’s unique flowery taste is something to be remembered. You can find it at nice spice stores or at Middle Eastern grocers (or via the Amazon link in the recipe below). My Paleo version of these cookies uses almond flour, coconut flour, and palm shortening, and is less dense and more soft than traditional ma’amoul, but the flavors are still spot-on and bring me back to childhood.

 

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys, and especially with my fellow Middle Easterners who don’t have to go through another holiday season without their beloved ma’amoul. The decorative cookie is formed using a tabi, a beautiful wooden cookie mold. You can find a similar one on Amazon HERE. If you don’t have a cookie mold, you can use the directions below and maybe hand carve some pretty decorations into your molded cookie dough with a butter knife? You know – the ancient art of cookie decorating is making a comeback. Which reminds me: why haven’t hipsters made the cookie the new “It” food yet? Poor cookies got beat out by cronuts and waffle sandwiches.

 

Paleo Date-Filled Arabic Cookies (Ma’amoul)

Makes 8 cookies | Prep Time 20 minutes | Cook Time 17 minutes

Date Filling

12 large Medjool dates, pitted

2 T unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp orange blossom water

1 T water

Pinch sea salt

Cookie

1 ½ c almond flour (I use Honeyville brand)

2 T coconut flour

½ cup palm shortening

1 T gelatin

1 tsp orange blossom water

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a baking sheet lightly with palm shortening.
  2. Place Date Filling ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Spoon into a small bowl and set aside. Wipe the processor clean.
  3. Place Cookie ingredients in the food processor and process until a dough forms, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides if needed and process a few seconds longer. Remove dough from processor and form into a large ball.
  4. Divide dough ball into 8 even pieces. Flatten each piece of dough in the palm of your hand into 3-inch circles. Place 1 T date filling in the center and fold the dough over the date mixture. Pinch closed to cover the date filling and gently roll the cookie in your hands to form a ball (the date mixture should stay on the inside).
  5. If using a tabi, press dough ball gentle into mold and tap on counter to transfer it to the baking sheet. If not using a tabi, press dough into an ice cream scoop to form a mound shape and release onto the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 7 pieces of dough.
  6. Bake 325 degrees for 17 minutes until the bottom is golden brown and the tops of the cookie are lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature completely before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold. I like them straight out of the freezer (they don’t freeze solid).


Lebanese Pork Hand-Pie (Paleo, AIP)

handpies2.jpg

God my dog is good-looking. He seriously stops strangers in their tracks during rush hour in Chicago. Rafael makes 54-year-old buttoned up CEOs late on a daily basis.He asks me for “leg hugs” every few minutes too when we’re on our walks…where he gets on his hindquarters, wraps his arms around my thigh, and plops his head against me while staring into my eyes saying “I need you, Mommy.”

 

He’s so cute he makes my stomach hurt. So much personality in a tiny little fur body. I jest that he’s a reincarnated 3-year-old Indian boy who died in a train accident but wants a second chance at the joys of childhood. It sounds morbid, but I really hope I’m making some little ghost boy’s dreams come true. If you knew him, you would stop thinking I’m weird and start agreeing with me. I will admit to some odd daily Doodle behavior. #1 Every night before I fall asleep, I look up Instagram tags of #cockapoo so I can have pleasant poodle dreams and #2 I spend at least 15 minutes a day flipping through Rafael pictures in my phone even though he’s sitting right in front of me begging for physical contact

 

Speaking of India, which is close-ish to Lebanon, which is where my father is from… meat pies! Huzza! There’s a reaosn why the majority of cultures have some staple dish consisting of meat in/on/wrapped in dough. Is America’s the corndog? How refined of us.

 

Lebanese Pork Hand-Pies [AIP Friendly]

Serves 2 | 50 minutes

2 cups peeled yucca, chopped into ½ inch cubes

¼ tsp garlic salt

1 T olive oil  + 2 tsp, divided

2 T arrowroot flour + extra for dusting

1 lb ground pork

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup onion minced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

½ cup chopped curly parsley

3 T chopped mint

1 tsp lemon juice

3 T chopped black olives

For serving: Sliced lemons, AIP Hummus, Olives, Parsley

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the yucca with water and bring to a rolling boil. Let cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until fork tender ensuring not to overcook. Drain the yucca and place in a blender with garlic salt. Blend until a dough forms.
  2. Place dough in a small bowl. Using a spoon, stir in the olive oil then the arrowroot. The dough will be very tacky. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. While the dough cools, cook your pork, onions, and garlic in the saucepan over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through. Turn the heat to low and stir in the spices, herbs, lemon juice, olives and salt to taste. Let cook for 5 additional minutes. Set aside.
  4. Coat your hands generously with arrowroot flour and divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Make 2 6-inch circles about ¼ inch thick. If dough is too sticky to handle, sprinkle on more arrowroot!
  5. Spoon pork mixture into center of dough (you’ll have extra for another meal!), leaving a 1-inch border. Fold all 4 sides of the dough towards the center, leaving an opening. Spoon extra pork filling into the center and place leftovers in the fridge.  (P.S. Don’t wash your pot out yet)
  6. Brush dough with 1 tsp olive oil and bake in oven for 20 minutes on middle rack. Turn oven to high broil, move baking sheet up to top 1/3 of oven, and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes watching carefully so it does not burn.
  7. Now heat the last 1 tsp oil in your pot on medium-high heat. Using a large spatula, carefully place hand-pie into hot oil and fry the bottom for 2 minutes (this creates the necessary crispiness of a traditional pie). Do the same with the second pie.
  8. Let cool 5 minutes before serving with lemon, tahini, olives and parsley accoutrements and a cucumber-parsley salad.