A Middle Eastern herb made from ground thyme, oregano, marjoram, and mixed with toasted sesame seeds and salt. Some may add savory, cumin, fennel or coriander seeds, as well as spices. Each household makes their own secret stash. A Palestinian variation includes caraway seeds, while the Lebanese contain sumac berries, giving it a distinctly blood red color. Za'atar is high in anti-oxidants and can be found at Middle Eastern supermarkets.
Made from the berries that grow on trees, sumac has a tart flavor that is very nice sprinkled on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions.
Roast Chicken with Za’atar, Sumac and Lemon
1 Chicken, quartered into thighs, breast, wings
3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of za’atar (if not, use 1 tablespoon of oregano + 1 tablespoon of thyme)
1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
Juice of 2 lemons, then slice lemons
2 red onions, thinly sliced
250ml chicken stock
3 tablespoons of Honey
50g pine nuts
Salt and Pepper
Wash and pat dry chicken.
Mix herbs, spices, garlic, onions, lemon juice, stock and oil with salt and pepper. toss with chicken and marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 375. Put chicken, skin side up, along with marinade into deep dish. Brush top of chicken with honey. Bake on top shelf of oven for 40-50 minutes, until nicely browned. Check to make sure it is cooked through. Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in pan over medium heat until brown.
When chicken is cooked, sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top and serve with Greek Yogurt and Couscous.
If you want a thicker sauce, remove chicken and set aside, strain sauce and boil in pan until reduced and thick. Then pour over chicken, sprinkle pine nuts and serve with yogurt in serving dishes.
If you have left over chicken in the days after, one thing I like doing is making chicken salad, which I then out in a sandwich.
Chicken Salad Sandwich
1 cup leftover meat, skin discarded
1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
1 celery, washed and chopped finely
¼ cup Japanese Mayonnaise, pictured below (if not, use homemade/store bought mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt)
Salt and Pepper
1 handful of rocket leaves
Shred chicken meat and mix with carrots, celery, cranberries and mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Toast 2 pieces of crusty bread, then add rocket leaves and chicken salad. Alternatively, spread chicken salad on one side of bread, top with rocket and other piece of bread. Brush bottom and top of sandwich with olive oil and put in Panini Press for 5 minutes till brown and toasty.
Another leftover option is to make Chicken Croquettes. Will post recipe soon.