This simple chicken recipe with sumac and pine nuts is so easy, and so delicious! It’s a Palestinian dish, but it is served on top of bread – a concept I newly discovered when I began Persian cooking. When you take the meat off of the heat, let it rest on the bread so that the juices will soak into it when they run, making the bread extra savory and delicious. This juicy bread is so coveted, in fact, that Persians refer to it as the “sister in law.” (Make of that what you will.)Print
Mussakhan: Simple Sumac Chicken
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 large lemon, juiced (about 4 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 ½ tablespoons sumac, plus more for serving
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 large red onion (about 1 pound), halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- Sangak (or other flat bread), for serving
- Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving
- Slash the flesh of each piece of chicken diagonally a few times, around 3/4 inch apart, and then place the meat in a large bowl or plastic container.
- Add the lemon juice; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 1/2 tablespoons sumac; the garlic, cumin, allspice and cinnamon; and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub the mixture into the meat. Add the red onion and toss to coat.
- Cover and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate, 1 to 3 hours.
- When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Transfer the meat, onion slices and any juices to a baking sheet and roast until the juices run clear when the chicken pieces are pierced at their thickest part, about 40 minutes.
- Once the chicken is cooked, cover the baking sheet tightly in foil and set aside while you prepare the toppings.
- In a small skillet, cook the pine nuts in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel to drain.
- To serve, heat the sangak or flat bread in the oven until toasted and warmed and transfer to a platter. Arrange the chicken and red onion on top. Finish with a smattering of pine nuts, sumac and chopped parsley.
- Drizzle any remaining roasting juices so they soak into the bread, then drizzle with a little more olive oil.