I’ve been watching a TV show called The Taste where there are 4 teams of 4 contestants, comprised of chefs and home cooks. Each team is lead by a famous chef mentor such as Chef Ludo Lefebvre, Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Marcus Samuelsson. Every week they have a guest chef judge and a week or two ago the guest chef judge was Yotam Ottolenghi. He makes beautiful bright and flavourful food and my colleague Chantal and I love him. She recently received two of his cookbooks, Ottolenghi & Plenty, as a gift and has been cooking out of it ever since.
After the episode “Go Green” with Yotam Ottolenghi aired, I couldn’t get my hands on his 3rd cookbook Jerusalem to save my life. To keep me occupied while I wait, Chantal shared with me one of the recipes her and her boyfriend love. And here I am sharing it with you. It is a delicious chicken dish and extremely easy. It’s well balanced and if you like onions and lemon, bright and zingy, this dish is for you!
Through all the ingredients, except for the za’atar into a bowl with a cover and leave in the fridge over night. The next day, place into a casserole dish, sprinkle with the za’atar and pop in the oven.
The smells that radiate off this dish when you pull it out of the oven are outstanding. The house fills with a warmth cozy feeling.
To finish it off, toast up some pine nuts in butter until they are golden brown (I could eat these as a snack with beer any ol’ day) and chop up some fresh parsley.
Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za’atar and Lemon
Prep time: 10 minutes + Marinating time Cook time: 30-40 minutes Cool time: 5 minutes
1 large chicken, divided into quarters; breast and wing, leg and thigh (I used a large pack of thighs)
1-2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
scant 1 cup (200 mL) chicken stock or water
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus extra
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp za’atar
4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter
6 tbsp (50 g) pine nuts
4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight for best results.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a casserole dish (like a lasagna pan) large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced well apart. They should be skin side up (if chicken still has skin). Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions and put the pan into the oven. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is coloured and just cooked through.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they turn golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess butter.
Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil. You can sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac, if you like.
Serve with pita or couscous and your favorite side.