Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Roast Chicken Breast with Sumac, Za'atar & Lemon

Inspired by a sensational recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, this is a simplified version of the traditional Palestinian dish M'Sakhan, in which chicken is spiced with a fragrant combination of allspice, cinnamon, paprika, sumac, minced garlic and olive oil with sliced onion and lemon, then marinated a few hours to allow the heavenly flavours to work their magic. Before placing the marinated chicken in the oven, a heaping tablespoon of za'atar is sprinkled over the whole dish then is roasted for about 45 minutes until the breasts are nicely coloured and cooked through. Traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven called a taboon over a bed of chicken broth soaked pita, the gorgeous combination of aromatic spices, tangy red onion and tart lemon work wonderfully well and is absolutely delicious. Served with a garlicky yogurt sauce, this memorable dish is completely addictive.

The chicken breasts, sliced onions and lemon combined and massaged well with the marinade

Covered and marinated for 4 hours, the chicken is then sprinkled with za'atar and baked 
at 400°F for 40-45 minutes

Roast Chicken Breast with Sumac, Za'atar & Lemon
Serves 2
Adapted from a recipe of Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin off

1 1/2 tbsp Za’atar, divided
1/2 tbsp toasted pine nuts, optional
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sumac
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken stock or water 
1/2 medium red onion, sliced thinly 
1/4 large lemon, sliced

In a large bowl, combine the the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken breasts and massage with the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Transfer the chicken breasts and marinade to a baking dish. Sprinkle the most of the za'atar over the chicken and onions and roast for 40-45 minutes, until the chicken is coloured and just cooked through.
 Remove from the heat, then sprinkle with a little more sumac and the remaining za’atar if you like. Garnish with the toasted nuts and fresh parsley.

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