Yotam Ottolenghi–an Israeli born in Jerusalem–owns five restaurants in London and contributes flavoursome recipes to the Guardian on Saturdays, with unusual Middle Eastern taste twists.
Ottolenghi’s Chicken is his version of the traditional Palestinian dish, M’sakhan. It is delicately flavoured with soft spices like cinnamon, allspice, and sharpened a little with sumac [dark red and lemony], enhanced with thin slices of lemon and onion–delicious to bite into–and finished off with za’atar–which is sesame seeds in a mix with oregano, thyme and other herbs.
The chicken pieces are marinaded overnight in these gentle flavours, then roasted for 40 minutes.
Garlicky yogurt sauce & Moroccan bread went well with it at the book launch. For diabetics, better to substitute whole-wheat brown pita bread or brown Basmati rice.
1 chicken–cut up into 8/10 pieces
1 lemon–sliced very thin
2 red onions–sliced very thin
2 cloves of garlic–mashed to a pulp in a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons sumac
200 ml stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons za’atar
50 gms/2 oz pine nuts
Combine the first 11 ingredients in a bowl and mix well together.
- Let this marinade, covered, in the fridge–preferably overnight.
- Heat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Lay the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a roasting pan and cover them with the lemon and onion marinade.
- Sprinkle over the za’atar.
- Roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes–the juices should run clear when you pierce a leg piece.
- In a small frying pan gently dry roast the pine nuts.
- Sprinkle them over the chicken and present the dish to the “table” before serving and enjoy the “oohs!” and “aahs!”.
- Scatter over some chopped parsley to finish, for colour, if you have some on hand.