Here's an amazing roast chicken recipe from chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Chicken thighs are spiced with za'atar and sumac, tossed with onions, lemons and garlic, and roasted. This is a great dinner party recipe because you can do all the prep ahead. The chicken is tender and juicy and the flavors are fantastically delicious!
THE PERFECT DINNER PARTY RECIPE
HOW TO MAKE OTTOLENGHI'S ROAST CHICKEN
- Slice two red onions and one lemon. Throw them into a big bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients: Chicken thighs, spices, olive oil and two crushed garlic cloves
- Toss the chicken with all the marinade ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for at least three hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Transfer the chicken and all the marinade ingredients to a baking pan large enough to hold all the chicken pieces without overlapping.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through.
- If you like the skin browned, turn the oven up to broil for the last few minutes of cooking, until the chicken is golden brown and crisp on top.
- Toasted pine nuts are a great garnish. You can toast them up ahead of time or while the chicken is roasting.
- Instead of chicken quarters I used only thighs, just a personal preference.
- I omitted allspice from my recipe (Ottolenghi uses 1½ teaspoons). I tried it with and without and found the allspice too dominant. I prefer to let wonderful flavors of sumac and za'atar shine through.
- Also, I discovered that roasting the chicken in a deep roasting pan resulted in juicier chicken and more delicious gravy vs roasting it in a shallow jellyroll pan.
- The skin doesn't brown as much in the deeper pan but If you're set on crispy skin, simply turn on the broiler for the last few minutes of cooking time until the skin is crisp and brown to your liking.
Ottolenghi has been my chef-hero for years. Now that I live in London, his home city, I find myself wanting to cook his beautiful Middle Eastern recipes more than ever. I brought very few cookbooks with me overseas but my entire Ottolenghi cookbook collection made the cut.
This roast chicken recipe comes from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook - his first cookbook and one of my favorites.
If you are an Ottolenghi fan, don't miss these other delicious Ottolenghi recipes on Panning The Globe:
- Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup by Ottolenghi
- Ottolenghi's Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts
- Ottolenghi's Turkey Zucchini Meatballs with Lemony Yogurt Sauce
- Ottolenghi's Turkey Corn Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
- Ottolenghi's Lentil Salad with Herbs and Feta
Here's the recipe for Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken with Za'atar and Sumac. If you try this recipe I hope you come back to leave a rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.
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Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken with Za'atar and Sumac
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 1x
Delicious roast chicken thighs recipe with Middle Eastern flavors. Easy. Prep ahead. Worthy of a special occasion.
- 8 chicken thighs with skin and bones, trimmed of excess fat and loose skin
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons za'atar plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 6 tablespoons pine nuts
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- In a large bowl, mix chicken, onions, lemon, garlic, 4 tablespoons olive oil, spices, broth, salt, and pepper. Marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer chicken and its marinade to a shallow baking pan large enough to hold all the chicken pieces lying flat with a little space between pieces. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked through.* If you like the skin browned, turn the oven up to broil for the last few minutes of cooking, checking every minute or so until the skin is as crisp and brown as you like it. (Be very careful not to burn it)
- Make The Topping: While the chicken is roasting, line a plate with a double layer of paper towels. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until they turn golden. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate, to absorb the oil.
- To Serve: Transfer the hot chicken, onions and lemons to a serving platter. Pour pan juices over the chicken pieces. Sprinkle chicken with extra za'atar if you like and sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts. Serve hot.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Oven Roast
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
I'm a simple man, with simple culinary skills. This recipe is simple enough for me to prepare, cook and deliver to a culinarily demanding audience, with oohs and aahs of gustatory joy bearing witness to the wonderful tastes and flavours in this dish. The chicken was moist, full of flavour and the marinade accompaniments, once cooked with the chicken, ended up in a fabulous oniony/gently spicy sauce after we added and cooked out a bit of cornflour with it in the cooking pan.
It’s a great recipe I served it with the roasted aubergine and saffron yogurt dressing, and served it with plain cous cous delicious
HI, would this work with skinless chicken thighs?
Hi - Yes! If you use bone-in chicken thighs without skin, the recipe will work perfectly as is. Because of all the colorful toppings, you don't need to brown the skin or the top of the chicken. If you want to use boneless, skinless thighs, you might reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes, as the chicken will cook faster without bones. I hope you enjoy!
Delicious. The combination of flavors is incredible. A friend is averse to cinnamon so I added a bit less than the recipe (she didn't notice and LOVED the dish). I also used only breasts (halved) as the same guest was averse to thigh meat. I served this with cous cous, roasted carrots (with a tiny amount of brown sugar and cardamom after they were tossed with oil and S+P) and asparagus. The orange carrots and green asparagus made for a beautiful plate.
Hi Lynne - I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish so much! I love what you served on the side - Thanks for reporting back! 🙂
This is a really wonderful recipe; the smell alone is a real delight, and the flavours are spot on. We have now made this dish 2 times, adding in some extra lemon the second time because our kids couldn't get enough of the tart edge. I do recommend at least 6 hours of marinating to really allow the flavours to meld together.
I’d like to cook this for a dinner party this week but one of my guests can’t eat lemon. What could I use as a substitute please?
Also, the starter I’m making has lots of pine nuts in - is there anything I can use instead in this dish?
Thanks for your help!
You can leave out the lemon and the dish will still be delicious. Sumac has a lemony flavor. I suggest serving lemon wedges on the side for those who may like to squeeze some over their chicken. As for the pine nuts, those are just for a final flourish and some toasted nutty flavor. I think toasted chopped pistachios would also work well. I hope you enjoy!
Totally delicious and only left to chill in the fridge for one hour.
Don't bother using anything but chicken thighs, they are the BEST for this dish.
The toasted pine nuts add a beautiful finish.
I served it with giant (Mediterranean flavoured) cous cous and green beans.
Out of this world!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish! And I agree with you about the chicken thighs - they're the my favorite in this dish (and in most any chicken dish). Thanks so much for circling back to review the recipe!
amazing roast chicken recipe is our family favorite but in my home, I cook it with ghee instead of using butter. Ghee is more flavorful and nutritious than butter and ghee clarified butter smoke point is higher than butter. Use ghee instead of using butter as a cooking oil., and enjoy better taste, better health benefits.
To know more : https://milkio.co.nz/clarified-butter-smoke-point/
I use Ras el hanout instead of zatar it’s delicious
Interesting! I'm glad you enjoyed!
I love to follow this recipe for my sir and madam love this chicken recipe so much for dinner parties and easy to prepare.Thank you so much Ottolenghi.
I adore this recipe! This is one of my go-to dinner party chicken recipes - along with chicken marbella. Thank you and thanks to Ottolenghi!
Very disappointed it tastes so 'bleh' and I keep thinking I must have left out an ingredient like chillies or something like that. It has minimal flavour and in fact is a ittle sweet. I think ai might have to eat it with hot sauce.
I'm sorry you were disappointed - Everyone's tastes are different. I hope the hot sauce helped.
I absolutely love this recipe, it never disappoints! The only substitute I make is sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, as I always have some and they are much cheaper. I think half a lemon is enough. We have it with any kind of flat bread, plain rice, green salad, coleslaw, and last time, with a Pinot Grigio rosé (dry and not too fruity)! Thanks so much for this Ottolenghi recipe.
I love this recipe. What do you normally serve it with at your dinner parties?
Hi Rosie - I'm so glad you love the recipe! For dinner parties I will often serve the chicken with this shredded kale salad https://www.panningtheglobe.com/raw-kale-salad-honey-lemon-parmesan/ and either mashed potatoes, smashed potatoes, rice, or this roasted potato-cauliflower dish https://www.panningtheglobe.com/roasted-cauliflower-potatoes-chickpeas-kalamata-olive-vinaigrette/. This tricolore salad https://www.panningtheglobe.com/insalata-tricolore/ also works really well with the Ottolenghi chicken. I hope this helps - enjoy!