Za’atar roast chicken is a flavorful one-pan dinner that is full of flavor. It takes a few minutes to put together which makes this dish perfect for a weeknight dinner yet, fancy enough for a nice dinner party. Za’atar on its own packs a punch with the Mediterranean flavors of thyme, oregano, sumac, and sesame. The prunes and olives take it to another level with some sweetness and earthy goodness.
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Prunes are commonly used in savory dishes in Greece. They impart a delicious sweetness to rich dishes and are wonderful in lamb recipes as well. Feel free to substitute dried figs and even apricots for the prunes, if your heart desires.
I used green olives for this recipe but, Kalamata olives would be fantastic as well.
Za’atar is an authentic Middle Eastern spice blend that was introduced to me by my Lebanese friend, Nadia. It is usually made with Sumac, thyme, oregano, and toasted sesame seeds. The combination varies from country to country. It is usually sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores and online but, you may already have all of the ingredients to make some at home. The recipe is in the card down below. Use this spice blend to marinate meat, sprinkle over Mediterranean dips such as hummus, eggplant dip, or even over plain yogurt. There are a million uses for Za’atar and I’m sure you will get creative once you have it in your pantry!
- 1 chicken (3.5-4 lbs.) cut into quarters
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1.4 cup fresh orange juice
- 4-5 large garlic cloves, grated
- 2-3 tablespoons harissa or pureed roasted red peppers
- The spices:
- • 4 heaping tablespoons za’atar
- • 2 tablespoons sumac
- • 1-1.5 teaspoons salt
- • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 cup prunes, dried apricots, or dried figs
- 1 cup olives
Preheat the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C.
Cut deep slits in the chicken pieces and place them in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, orange juice, garlic, and harissa in a bowl. Whisk together and pour over the chicken.
Sprinkle all of the spices over the chicken and toss to coat.
Add the prunes and olives to the pan.
Bake in the center rack of the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
Flip the chicken pieces over and bake 20-25 more minutes.
Serve with Mediterranean Rice Pilaf, Brussel Sprouts, Roasted vegetables, Couscous, or a salad with some toasted bread to soak up the zesty sauce. Enjoy!
Marinate the chicken overnight and store in the refrigerator for maximum flavor. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before baking.
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