This za’atar chicken recipe is a wonderful dish full of delicious lemony flavor and spice blends. Za’atar spice is a middle eastern spice blend of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac, sometimes marjoram and sea salt with of course variations depending on the region. I do love using it on chicken and lemony dishes - the taste is herby, nutty, savory, and slightly tangy. This recipe comes from one of my favourite books for inspiration and flavour - Falastin. The recipe is very easy to make and full of flavour - a delicious sheet-pan chicken recipe that you must add to you list of recipes to make. The herby lemony chicken is cooked to perfection - tender and very flavourful and great with a side of rice or lemony potatoes or a simple salad. Sheetpan chicken recipes are always fabulous for dinner especially when they can partially be made ahead making dinner effortless, easy and delicious. All the work - chopping and marinating is done in advance and dinnertime is low fuss and just a matter of popping everything on a Sheetpan and in the oven! Can’t beat that!
More About Falastin - A Cookbook
Falastin is a wonderful collection of 120 recipes by Ottolenghi’s Executive Chef Sami Tamimi, created by his personal narrative of the Palestine he grew up in. The book explains that there is no letter ‘P’ in the Arabic language so “falastin” is the way Falastinians” refer to themselves. The word though as explained, is also about geography, land, history, language, identity and culture and Falastin the book is a celebration of this culture: the recipes and stories, the food and the people of Palestine. The book is by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley and they are described as host and tour guide and they do a lovely job at sharing not only wonderful recipes but stories behind the food and region. The forward helps us appreciate that its more than Sami’s story its a collection of stories through the many profiles that help us have a glimpse of the food, the people, culture and the land. The stories are touching beautiful and insightful. The book has some wonderful photography not only of the food but of the land, and some lovely street photography and portraits that capture a feeling and the people behind the recipes. The book is categorized very simply starting with Breakfast then Snack, Spread and Sauces, Veggie Sides and Salads, Soups, Veggie Mains, Fish, Meat, Breads and Pastries and finishes off with Sweets. The recipes range from super simple to some that are a little more involved but all very straightforward - there are so many amazing ones that I can’t wait to try but I chose to share the Lemon Chicken with Za’atar as we have made it so many times already and its quite simple and delicious. Next on my list to make is the Fragrant Palestinian Couscous, the Upside Down Spiced Rice With Lamb and Fava Beans, Meaty Vine Leaf Pie and the Knafeh Nabulseyeh just to name a few. Im thrilled to have received this lovely book from Appetite by Random House and really can’t recommend it enough - its a wobferdul read full of heart warming stories! grab your copy here.
Za’atar Chicken Recipe Ingredients
- Zaatar - the recipe calls for this lovely blend of spices
- Garlic - not separating them into garlic cloves but leaving the whole garlic head whole - which turns into melt in you mouth caramelized garlic cloves
- Lemons - for the lemon zest and the lemon juice - fresh is always best not the bottled stuff
- Chicken - I prefer to use skin-on chicken thighs - bone-in
- Onions - yellow onions is what I used but shallots would work too
- More Spices - ground Sumac, Ground allspice and salt and black pepper
- Chicken Stock/Chicken Broth - or water
- Olive Oil - for marinade and for drizzling
- Fresh Parsley - for garnish
- Variations - add drained and cooked (or used canned) chickpeas to pan the last 30 min of baking for extra protein
Za’atar Chicken Recipe Instructions
- MARINATE chicken with lemon slices, lemon juice, lemon zest, onions, garlic, sumac, allspice, half the za’atar, a little oil, the stock and salt and pepper - for 2 hours or overnight.
- TRANSFER chicken and all the marinade onto sheet-pan, drizzle with olive oil
- BAKE/ROAST until chicken is cooked through and golden
- MAKE lemon parsley, za’atar oil and serve with the chicken along with all the pan juices
More Chicken Recipes You Will Love
- 3 lemons
- 1 whole chicken (2¾ lb/1.3kg), cut into legs, chicken thighs, and breasts with the wing-tips left on (or about 2 lb 2 oz/1 kg of chicken legs or breasts with the wing-tips left on), skin on, if you prefer - or use bone in chicken thighs
- 2 onions, sliced in half, then each half cut into 3 wedges (2¾ cups/260g)
- 2 heads of garlic, skin on, sliced in half, crosswise
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 tablespoons /25g za’atar seasoning
- 6 tablespoons /90ml olive oil
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons /200 ml chicken stock or water
- Salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup/5g parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ cup/30g sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
- Marinate Chicken: Cut 2 of the lemons into ¼-inch/6mm-thick slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Finely grate the zest of the remaining lemon (to get 1½ tsp of zest) and set this aside for later. Squeeze the same lemon to get about 1½ tbsp of juice and add this to the mixing bowl along with the chicken, onions, garlic, sumac, allspice, 2 tbsp of za’atar, 2 tbsp of oil, the stock, 1½ teaspoon salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well to combine, then cover with a large plate and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight, if you have time).
- Half an hour or an hour before baking, take the chicken out of the fridge; it should be at room temperature before going into the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Transfer the room temperature chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side up, and pour on all the marinade and lemon slices. Drizzle the chicken with 1 tbsp of oil and bake for about 45 minutes, giving everything a bit of a stir halfway through, until the chicken is golden and cooked through and the onions have taken on some color.
- Toward the end of the cooking time for the chicken, combine the parsley, lemon zest, remaining 2 tbsp of za’atar, and remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving platter along with the lemon slices and any juices that have collected at the bottom of the pan. Some people will love to eat the lemon slices and others won’t. Either way, serve them up with the chicken–they look great.
- Spoon the parsley mixture on to the chicken, finish with the almonds if desired, and serve.
- Ingredients note From the Book : We tend to start with a whole chicken (so that chicken stock can be made from the carcass), but it’s absolutely fine, of course, to start with chicken breasts, with the wing-tips left on, or legs, if you prefer.
- The chicken browns up beautifully every time I have made this dish but if you find that yours hasn’t as much as you would like feel free to turn on the broiler to broil for a a couple of minutes for some extra colour.
- Chicken is cooked and done when probe inserted into the thermal center of a chicken breast, leg, or thigh and internal temperature reaches and reads 165°F (74°C) when it’s time to eat.
- Make ahead - Marinate chicken for up to a day ahead
- Storage - Cooked and cooled leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days