First and foremost, this isn’t an authentic recipe. It’s inspired by a traditional Palestinian recipe, but it’s not authentic. This – like many of the things I cook – evolved from something I tried somewhere or heard about and tried to reproduce on my own. In this case, with help from google and a few other sources over the years. That’s mostly because the key ingredient in this dish – well, if you don’t count the chicken – is something that I’d never used at all until about a decade ago: sumac. No, not the stuff you’re warned about as a kid in the southern US – or the weird part of Ohio and Pennsylvania where Poison Sumac grows despite not being the south. That’s a different plant.
Sumac is the dried and ground berries of a similar plant and has a bright, slightly bitter, slightly sour flavor sort of like a more floral citrus note. I’ve come to love it – and a chicken dish where it’s the main flavor? Yes please.
This is iteration … I don’t even know … of this dish for me. I’ve tried simple and more complex versions – but slowly, inexorably, settled on something in between. It’s slightly sweet – from the onions and honey, slightly sour from the sumac and lemon, spicy and rich from the cumin and allspice, and best of all – when you layer it over flatbread (either the big one in the picture above, or just a pile of normal sized bread) the bread soaks up all the delicious juices.
Palestinian Style Roasted Chicken Thighs with Red Onion and SumacDifficulty: Medium
An easy and flavorful middle eastern style roasted chicken dish – flavored with red onions and sumac.
4 large bone-in skin on chicken thighs
1 large red onion
6 cloves garlic
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried sumac
2 tsp honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground allspice
Minced flat leaf parsley
Crushed pistachios or Pine nuts
- Generously season the chicken thighs with salt.
- Peel, trim, and coarsely crush the garlic.
- Peel, trim, and slice the onion from end to end.
- Wisk the sumac, cumin, allspice, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil together to form a uniform marinade.
- Add the chicken and onions to the marinade, and rest, refrigerated, for at least two, and up to 4 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Arrange the chicken and onions on a sheet pan.
- Roast until the chicken is well browned (and has reached an internal temperature of 170°F), and the onions are slightly charred – about 25 minutes.
- To serve, arrange the chicken and onions (and any delicious pan juices) on the large flatbread, and scatter with pistachios or pine nuts, additional sumac, and fresh torn or minced parsley.