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.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!