Roasted zaatar chicken
Making this chicken, I couldn’t help but think back to the time my mum discovered Lakemba or ‘little Middle East” as we call it.
She came home with a bag full of fresh zaatar which filled the room with aroma. A box with real Kenafa and and another bag full of pistachios with a hull covering. Memories came flooding back from my childhood of where sharing food with friends and neighbours was a regular occurrence. Then a different memory appeared which made me cringe... I remember being a recent immigrant (I was 10 years old) I had made a friend and I was invited to her house for a play. After we had spent the afternoon playing her mother came down stairs and said, “Don’t forget to call your parents to pick you up. It will be dinner time soon and you will need to go home.” I remember feeling confused and embarrassed. Where I had grown up that would never have happened. It had always been natural to me to just share meals with whoever we found ourselves with. I still struggle with that particular cultural difference.
Of course, I respect the fact that everyone has their own customs and culture, and I think I have adapted pretty well. For example, I don’t give my bed up to visitors like I used to when I first came to Australia. I managed to adapt to that one pretty quick and was happy to let my visitor sleep on the matters on the floor while I slept snugly in my bed. But somethings didn’t change and sharing whatever I have, no matter how little I have (at at times I have had very little) is something I’l always hold onto.
So I encourage you to make this recipe a shared experience with your friends and family. This chicken needs only Zaatar, which is a flavour-packed spice blend with a delicious tangy kick.
6-7 chicken Maryland
6 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons zaatar
1 teaspoon cumin
1teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted or toasted
2 large red/spanish onions, cut any way you like. I cut them into rings
Preheat the oven to 200c
Mix the zaatar with 3 tablespoons of oil, cumin and garlic salt
Using a basting brush, brush chicken skin with the zaatar
Place chicken on a baking tray lined with baking paper, skin side up. Place in the oven and roast for one hour or until chicken is cooked through.
While chicken is in the oven, fry the onions with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. You want the onions to cook slowly to release their sugars and to caramelize, stirring just every so often, so the onions become bronzed and jammy.
Add the sultanas and stir for another 2-3 minutes.
Once chicken is ready, serve with onions and sultanas, and top with pine nuts.
I served the chicken with the onions and sultanas on top of a round flat bread topped with pine nuts and garnished with chopped parsley.
I love hearing from you! Let me know how it went and feel free to spread the word/passion/love, the more the merrier!
With love and gratitude