Monday, June 17, 2013

Orange-Cardamom Marinade

This is something I've been wanting to make for awhile now. Actually, what I originally wanted to make was an orange-cardamom vinaigrette, but it ended up becoming this instead. I still have plans to work on the vinaigrette, but for now this is a really, really good diversion. It makes for a fantastic marinade for chicken, both by itself, and maybe even more so when mixed with Chermoula, which I'll be posting recipes for here in the next week or two.

The really interesting thing to me about this marinade is that, at least when you mix it with Chermoula, the dominant flavor seems to change depending on how you blend it up. Here's what happened when I made it- the first time I made it, I used my immersion blender, but it didn't really completely emulsify; the oil separated a little after awhile, which wasn't really a big deal since I ended up using it as a marinade instead of a dressing. But the second time I made it, I used a regular blender to make it, and in that case it emulsified quite well- to the point of almost being aioli-like in consistency. In fact, it could even make a good condiment! Both times I ended up mixing it with Chermoula, and the resulting blend would also make for a good condiment. The first time (when I used the stick blender) the flavor of the Chermoula was more dominant (not overpowering, but you noticed it before the flavor of the orange-cardamom marinade). When I mixed it with the the blender, the flavor of the orange-cardamom marinade was more prominent. Interesting...
Anyway, here's the recipe for the marinade, and coming in a couple weeks or so are some Chermoula recipes (with photos) that I've tried that I like (both my own creation, and a couple I found online).

Orange-Cardamom Marinade

200 ml straight (undiluted) orange juice concentrate
300 ml neutral oil (I used sunflower; I think canola tastes shitty)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2-2 T ground cardamom
1 1/2-2 T ground coriander
1 T prepared spicy brown mustard
pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

A couple notes-

For this particular recipe, I ground my own cardamom in my coffee grinder, but I used pre-ground (commercially ground) coriander. If you're using pre-ground spices, 1 1/2 T is good, but since coffee grinders don't get the grind quite as fine, if you grind your spices yourself in a coffee grinder (which I recommend- fresh ground is best!), you may want to lean towards using 2 T instead of 1 1/2. Or if you just really, really like cardamom and coriander, like I do, then up the amount as well.

As for the mustard, it doesn't really make much difference whether you used plain yellow, spicy brown, or dry. The first time I made the recipe I used 1 t dry mustard. The second time, I was out of dry, so ended up using the 1 T spicy brown that this recipe calls for. I didn't really notice much difference as far as the mustard goes, so probably whatever you have on hand will be fine.

Chermoula recipes ahead, so stay tuned- they're damn good!