Lemon Chicken with Za’atar

Lemon Chicken with Za'atar

Here, all the work is done in advance, which means that at dinnertime there is little fuss, and happy feasting. It’s a complete winner every time.

Serves4

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Credit: Jenny Zarins

As anyone who has cooked the chicken sheet-pan recipes from Sami’s previous
cookbooks — Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem — knows, the secret weapon behind so many (seemingly) effortless dinners is a make-ahead chicken dish that can just be put into the oven when needed. All the work is done in advance, which means that at dinnertime there is little fuss, and happy feasting. It’s a complete winner every time.

Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley‘s Falastin is Kitchn’s January pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Lemon Chicken with Za'atar

Here, all the work is done in advance, which means that at dinnertime there is little fuss, and happy feasting. It’s a complete winner every time.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 3

    lemons, divided

  • 1

    whole chicken (2 3/4 pounds), cut into legs, thighs, and breasts with the wing-tips left on (or about 2 pounds 2 ounces of chicken legs or breasts with the wing-tips left on), skin on, if you prefer

  • 2

    onions, sliced in half, then each half cut into 3 wedges (2 3/4 cups)

  • 2 heads

    garlic, skin on, sliced in half, crosswise

  • 2 teaspoons

    sumac

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground allspice

  • 4 tablespoons

    za'atar, divided

  • 6 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons chicken stock or water

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1/4 cup

    parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup

    sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Cut 2 of the lemons into 1/4-inch-thick slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Finely grate the zest of the remaining lemon (to get 1 1/2 teaspoon of zest) and set this aside for later. Squeeze the same lemon to get about 1 1/2 tablespoons of juice and add this to the mixing bowl along with the chicken, onions, garlic, sumac, allspice, 2 tablespoons of za’atar, 2 tablespoons of oil, the stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well to combine, then cover with a large plate and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight, if you have time).

  2. Half an hour or an hour before baking, take the chicken out of the fridge; it should be at room temperature before going into the oven.

  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  4. Transfer the chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and pour on all the marinade and lemon slices. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon of oil and bake for about 45 minutes, giving everything a bit of a stir halfway through, until the chicken is golden and cooked through and the onions have taken on some color.

  5. Toward the end of the cooking time for the chicken, combine the parsley, lemon zest, remaining 2 tablespoons of za’atar, and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl.

  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter along with the lemon slices and any juices that have collected at the bottom of the pan. Some people will love to eat the lemon slices and others won’t. Either way, serve them up with the chicken—they look great.

  7. Spoon the parsley mixture on the chicken, finish with the almonds, and serve.

Recipe Notes

Ingredients note: We tend to start with a whole chicken (so that chicken stock can be made from the carcass), but it’s absolutely fine, of course, to start with chicken breasts, with the wing-tips left on, or legs, if you prefer.

Reprinted with permission from Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.” Photography credit: Jenny Zarins © 2020