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Archive for September 3rd, 2010

I missed Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer series the first time it was shown on television, but have caught the repeats on UKTV Good Food this summer.  Za’atar chicken is lovely for a hot summer day.  It needs some advance preparation but can simply be popped in the over to cook when required.  The chicken is amazingly moist and delicious … need I say more!  Nigella suggests serving Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush, a North African/Middle Eastern salad containing toasted pitta bread, which I have already posted.  It is a wonderful combination of flavours and both are recipes I shall be making again and again.  Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad could be served as an additional dish if needed.

The recipe can be found in the book of the series, Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson.  This recipe was part of the ‘Amber’ TV programme: each episode is named after a colour, with the recipes fitting each title.  Clever, although the book is more traditionally laid out.  I am sure that this recipe could also be cooked on a Barbecue, although I have not tried it (suggest a brief pre-cook in the microwave before barbecuing to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked).  I did some research and found a recipe for Za’atar mixture and made my own as I had all the ingredients in the cupboard.  Za’atar Spice Mixture (click for recipe already posted on this site) is simply a combination of roasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, oregano and salt.  It is aromatic and definitely not spicy, the sumac giving it a lemony flavour.  I have chosen to be more generous with the Za’atar mixture as we love the flavour.  I used the chicken thighs suggested in the recipe but the Za’atar Mixture would be good, I’m sure, liberally spread over a whole roasted chicken.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Za’atar Chicken
(Serves 4)

4 large chicken thigh pieces (with or without skin)
4 tbsp olive oil
4tbsp Za’atar Spice Mixture 
Salt, preferably sea salt

1.  Remove the skin from the chicken pieces if you wish before marinading.  Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish or tin.

2.  Spoon over olive oil and za’atar mixture.  Turn pieces in the dish so they are well covered.  Season and cover.  Alternatively the chicken pieces can be placed in a large plastic bag with the oil, za’atar mixture and seasoning.

3.  Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  If using a china dish then remove from the fridge and bring up to room temperature to avoid breakage.

4.  Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas 7.   Place the dish in the centre of the oven, covering for about 20 minutes, then removing the cover and cooking for 35-45 minutes in total, or until cooked through to the bone. 

5.  Serve with Fattoush Salad and possibly with Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad as an extra.

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