Ethiopian Chicken with Preserved Lemon Relish and Bitters

by The Meadow Mississippi

You shoot a bird. You light a fire. You muster some African spices. You grab some salty-bittertart preserved lemons. Simple things unite, and your encampment is redolent with roasted spice and meat. Douse a bite with cardamom bitters. Now you stare up. The black night sky, buckshot with diamonds.

Serves 8


For the chicken:

  • 1½ tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, spatchcocked (see page 110 of Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom bitters
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the preserved lemon relish:

Makes ½ cup

  • 1 preserved lemon, finely chopped (page 110 of Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and/or cilantro
  • ½ garlic clove, minced ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 dashes cardamom bitters
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the chicken, mix all of the spices into a rub; set aside.

Preheat a grill for direct medium heat, 350 to 400°F.
Rub the chicken all over with half the oil and all of the rub, concentrating on the skinless side.

Brush and oil the grill grate and place the chicken skin side down on the grate.
Grill for about 15 minutes and then turn with a spatula or tongs. Grill for another 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 170°F.

While the chicken is grilling, mix the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil, the bitters, and lemon juice together; set aside.

Prepare the preserved lemon relish by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Cut the chicken into serving pieces and drizzle with the olive oil–bitters mixture.
Serve with the lemon relish.

Recipe from Mark Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari


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