Sumac and Za’atar Roasted Chicken

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Ground sumac and za’atar seasonings are available at Middle Eastern markets. Sumac (also spelled sumaq or summag) is made from the red sumac berry and has a lemony taste. Za’atar is a mixture of dried thyme and cilantro, sesame seed, sumac, and salt. There are different versions that you can buy or make.

?onion, sumac and za'atarPreheat oven to 450’ Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place breast up on an oiled roasting pan.

Slice an onion thinly and sauté in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with a few spoonfuls of sumac, za’atar, and 1 teaspoon of salt until soft.

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While onions are cooking, chop 6 garlic cloves and stuff them between the skin and breast meat. Sprinkle salt on the top of the chicken and use your hands to spread garlic infused olive oil over the skin. Sprinkle some za’atar on your hands and rub it under the skin and inside the cavity.

Stuff the breast cavity with half a lemon and as many onions as will fit. Reserve the rest of the onions to serve with the roasted chicken. I can tell you from experience that if you over-stuff the chicken, the onions will fall out and burn!

Turn the chicken on its breast and salt and oil the back side. Roast the chicken breast down for an hour or until it is brown. Serve with the roasted and reserved sautéed onions.

Roast Chicken

The fresh herbs and lemon give the chicken a wonderful flavor and keep it moist. Baking it breast side down allows the juices to moisten the breast meat. I do the same for turkey.

Ingredients

1 chicken

salt and pepper

Garlic infused olive oil

fresh herbs: 3 sprigs rosemary, 5 sprigs thyme, 10 cilantro, 3 sage. Use dried thyme if you don’t have fresh.

1 stalk celery, 1 green onion, and 5 garlic cloves coarsely chopped

1 lemon split in half

chicken stuffed with herbs and lemon. Garlic is pushed under the breast skin

Directions:

Remove giblets and excess fat from cavity flaps, rinse and dry chicken.

Place chicken on a large plate. Salt inside and out.Return to the refrigerator for an hour or more.

Oil roasting pan and place chicken in breast side up.

Stuff breast cavity with fresh herbs and vegetables, lemon, salt and pepper.

Tuck a few cloves of garlic, cut in thirds, under the breast skin. Smear garlic oil on top with your fingers, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

breast side down

Close flaps of skin over cavity and flip chicken breast down and oil and season the back.

Close flaps of skin over cavity and flip chicken breast down and oil and season the back. Roast at high heat (490 degrees) for 15 minutes, then reduce to 375 degrees for an hour, more or less depending on the size of the chicken.

You can bake a whole eggplant, potatoes, yams and/or a butternut squash alongside the chicken. Place them on foil to avoid getting their juices onto the roasting pan (especially the yams!)