Every Friday at Comal, Denver's food incubator for aspiring immigrant restaurateurs, you'll find a Middle Eastern feast being prepared by Iraqi-Syrian refugees Vian Alnidawi and Sara Nassr. Their spread includes everything from shakriyeh, a lamb yogurt stew, to this traditional roast chicken, where the crispy meat rests on a bed of potatoes and onions before being brushed with lemon and garlic. It's the kind of Syrian home cooking that's helping the mother-daughter duo make a name for themselves among locals and big-name chefs alike.
To learn more, read "Coming Home."
Jaj Bl Hamed w Tum (Baked Chicken with Lemon & Garlic)
Recipe adapted from Vian Alnidawi and Sara Nassr, Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Denver, CO
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
1 medium onion, cut in in half, julienned
2 large russet potatoes, cut into wedges
4 chicken legs
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste)
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, grated
2 lemons, juiced, roughly ⅓ cup of juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, toss the onions, potatoes and chicken legs with the salt and 5 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Arrange the onion and potato pieces evenly across a deep baking tray, then place the chicken legs on top. Bake for 1 hour.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the grated garlic, lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove the baking tray from the oven; the chicken should be brown and crispy. Spread the lemon-garlic mixture on top, then return the tray to the oven for 8 minutes.
5. Divide the legs among 4 plates and serve.