Braised Egyptian Greens With Crispy Chicken (Egyptian Molokhia)
This popular Egyptian dish pairs beautifully braised chicken with a stew chock full of leafy molokhia and tasty spices.
Yield: serves 6-8 people
Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- 1 whole chicken, meat cut into 6 bone-in pieces, neck and ribcage reserved
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 5 pods green cardamom, cracked
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- Freshly ground black pepper
- About 2 tbsp. Cloves from 1 medium head garlic, minced to a coarse paste
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
- 1 tbsp. ground coriander
- 1 packet (15 oz.) frozen molokhia leaves, thawed and chopped if needed
- 3-4 cups cooked white rice, for serving
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add the chicken pieces and enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low and let simmer, skimming occasionally, 30 minutes. Add the onion, cardamom, bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons salt and continue to simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, 20-30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, preheat a broiler to high heat. Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces to a large baking sheet or oven-safe platter and set aside until cool enough to handle. Rub the pieces all over with 1 tablespoon butter, season with more salt and black pepper, and broil until the skin is browned, 4-6 minutes. Remove and set aside while you prepare the soup.
- Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, and strain the stock (discard the solids). Measure out 5 ½ cups and set aside any remaining stock for another use.
- In a medium pot, melt the remaining tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and the coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant and the garlic is beginning to brown, 5-6 minutes. Quickly add the reserved 5 ½ cups stock and bring the mixture back up to a simmer. Add the molokhia, stirring to incorporate. Bring the mixture back up to a low boil, then simmer until the broth is smooth and slightly viscous and the garlic no longer tastes raw, about 5 minutes. (Take care not to overcook the soup, which will cause the leaves to fall to the bottom of the soup.)
- Divide the rice among 6 individual bowls, then ladle in some of the hot stew. Top each with a piece of chicken and serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.