Claypot chicken with dates, sujuk and burgul

Hello, everyone.  I am back but I am not sure whether you can say I am back with a vengeance. Only time will tell. I have, at last, started doing a bit of cooking.  Now it is time to start taking photos and get back into blogging.  These photos were snapped on the run last night.

Before we discuss today’s offering, a bit of a catch up is required:  we still haven’t leased our house so we still haven’t moved into the flat.  There is a massive over-supply of rental properties in Perth at the moment so we must wait.  We are, however, back to spending half our time in Bridgetown.  We can’t increase that until the house is leased as we need to maintain it.

We have had the flat painted and the balcony re-tiled.  We intend to get an overhead cupboard in the kitchen – as it is tiny, with a capital “T”.  Eventually, we will get new flooring but are going to wait until we are certain that we will be moving in before we spend any more money.

We went to Melbourne for the Flower Show and the Comedy Festival and had a great time.  We also saw The Book of Mormon which was absolutely fab. On a less bright note, on the flight over to Melbourne, I caught a bug and have been crook for nearly a month.  I generously gave the bug to Maus.

Bridgetown looks like a dust bowl. We had zero rain in April so the situation is pretty bleak.  We still have water but not much.  It had better rain soon.

Ok, that’s the catch up.

Today’s offering came about because, months ago, I bought a sujuk (also spelt suçuk, sudjuk, sudžuk and sudzhuk)- and froze it.  Sujuk, for those who don’t know, is a Turkish dried spiced sausage, much like the Italian salami.

I had seen sujuk as an ingredient in a number of dishes and was on the look out for one. We were at the Lebanese Bakery in President Street, Kewdale, one day and I casually asked the assistant whether they had any Turkish sausage – duuuuurrrr – at the time I couldn’t remember the name of it.  I assumed she would just look at me like the moron I was and say “no” but, in an instant, she was handing me a sausage with suçuk on the label.

Next step was to find a recipe for it.  After a quick search in Eat Your Books, I found this little gem.  The recipe is by Greg Malouf and is in both his Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey and New Middle Eastern Food.  It is a very tasty recipe and served with a couple of vegetables or a light salad, makes a well balanced meal.  It is not very fiddly to make and well worth the effort.  Don’t worry if you don’t have any sujuk – any dried sausage, such as a Chorizo, would work just as well.

Recipe chosen, next I needed a guinea pig to test it on.  Enter our mate, Steve, who assured me he didn’t mind being my guinea pig.  When Steve smelt dinner, he asked whether it was another of my Middle Eastern offerings.  Funny he should ask that because I have been thinking about my food style of late.  I do tend to cook very similar dishes.  I have decided not to fight it but embrace it as my style. This recipe is typical of the type of food I make and love.

This dish would, traditionally, be cooked in an earthenware pot in the oven but don’t worry if you don’t have an earthenware pot – any casserole dish will do the trick.  Greg Malouf advises:

In Turkish cookery there’s a distinctive group of dishes known as güveç, which take their name from the earthenware pot in which they are cooked—in the same way that the tagine does in Morocco.

and I reckon you could easily cook it on a cook top over a very low heat in a tagine or any other casserole dish.

These ingredients, according to the recipe, serve two.  As there were three of us, I made 1.5 times the recipe and found that there was enough for six.  You never know.

Ingredients:

  • 2  x 400g poussins or one small chicken, cut into quarters
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 50g sujuk, sliced (I used more than this as it didn’t seem like much.)
  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into thick rings
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 long red & 2 long green capsicums, seeded and cut into rings (Maus found a bag of green ones so we didn’t get any nice colour variation happening).
  • 2 long green chillies, seeded and diced
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a generous splash of sherry (Who knows how much is a generous splash?   When I see some chefs adding a splash of olive oil, it looks to me like they almost use the whole bottle!)
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
  • 50g burgul
  • 350 mls chicken stock
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 star anise
  • few sprigs of thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 4 Medjool dates, seeded and cut into quarters (I used 6 ordinary dates.  It is not worth going out and buying Medjool dates especially)

Method:

  1. Cut the chickens into quarters and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat some olive oil over a medium heat and brown the chicken then set aside.
  3. Add the sujuk to the pan and fry until brown on both sides then set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  5. Heat the butter and olive oil in a casserole dish. Gently sweat the onions, garlic, peppers and chillies with the cumin and cinnamon for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
  6. Add the sherry, tomatoes, burgul, chicken stock, cinnamon, star anise and thyme and bring to the boil.
  7. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer the chicken and sujuk to the casserole dish and add the dates.
  9. Cover the pan and cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
  10. Serve – I threw some pomegranate seeds over the top just because it is pomegranate season and they looked good.

17 thoughts on “Claypot chicken with dates, sujuk and burgul

  1. Nice to have you back Glenda! Hope we didn’t walk past each other at the comedy festival and flower show. 🙂 This recipe is going to be made very shortly, love the sound of it.

  2. I hope you are enjoying Bridgetown despite the real estate situation in Perth and dearth of rain. The ability to have much effect of both is disheartening. I often think of you & Maus and your lovely Bridgetown place with affection, wishing we were closer… Not just when you are cooking although the claypot chicken looks lovely, I love Sujuk, the aroma would be amazing and the carrots are beautiful. My sploshes are quite generous.

    • Hi Ella, I wish we were closer too. We had our first rain today – 10mils. The rain makes me a little cheery. Lucky we had rain otherwise it would have been no more showers 🙂

  3. Lovely to have you back Glenda. I have also been MIA as far as blogging goes the last while. Travelling between Kenya and home seems to keep me busy.
    Have a glorious and happy day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. Glad you are back. Love Turkish food for its flavours. Will seek out the sausage to try.
    We have had so much rain in the east, would love to share it with you. Hang in there.

  5. Being the Steve in question, I can vouch for this recipe. Delicious it was. The sujuk likewise!

  6. Welcome back, Glenda. This dish sounds quite divine. I hadn’t heard of Sujuk. Very interesting. Best wishes with housey things. Hope it all goes to plan. xx

  7. Hello Glenda, it’s nice to hear your voice again. I hope you get rain soon in Bridgetown, it gets quite depressing to see the landscape turning to cornflakes. Your chicken recipe looks beautiful and the aroma must have been lovely – full of Eastern Promise. I love pomegranate seeds, they are so pretty and I like their burst of crunch and freshness. I think Celia might be the authority on what constitutes a generous splosh :). I hope you and Maus are feeling much better.

    • Hi Jan Thanks for your kind words. The land is still as dry as chips here but hopefully it will rain soon. I love it when it rains.

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