Monday, September 17, 2007

chicken 1-2-3

this is really one of those 1-2-3 step recipes — cut the chicken, spice it up and then bake. beyond simple to prepare (and cook), this incredible chicken dish can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes and results in flavours which are spectacular. it can be used as an everyday dish for suppers or served on holidays.

if you don't have za'atar, or have never tried it, read here to find out what it is. there is a simple recipe for it included under "make your own" in the recipe. you can also find another one in zainab & meedo's great blog, arabic bites (thanks girls!).

additionally, if you don't like sweet flavours, you can leave out the honey altogether and increase the lemon.

honey za'atar chicken

an extremely flavourful dish, it can be made spicy by using hot paprika (or cayenne) or mild with regular paprika. served alongside rice and a salad, it makes for a nice meal.

serves 4 to 5 people


1 chicken*, cut into serving pieces (~8 pcs)

black pepper
(hot) paprika** or cayenne pepper
onion and garlic powder

1/2 lemon
6 - 8 tbsp honey, more or less

*i prefer to leave the skin on for this one but you can make it without. the skin serves to add flavour and keep the meat from drying out too much.

**adding the hot paprika makes a big difference. if you want it non-spicy, then just use regular paprika.


preheat oven to 400F.

cut up chicken, clean it and dry with paper towels. either keep or remove skin (w/ skin tastes better).

in a glass pyrex (8 x 8), arrange the chicken pieces and squeeze the lemon over them. another option is that you can place the chicken in a ziploc and add the lemon juice in the morning or night before, leaving it in the fridge to bake after work around supper time.

now, in this order: salt and pepper each piece. then do the same with the onion powder and garlic powder. next, sprinkle the (hot) paprika over each chicken part and then finish with a good amount of za'atar. don't skimp on this part.

lastly, drizzle the honey (amount is up to you but about 1 tbsp/pc is recommended) over each piece of chicken. do not mix the chicken pieces now.

in a preheated 400F oven, without covering, bake the chicken for 12 minutes.

lower heat to 350F and bake uncovered for about 35 minutes or until browned.

remove the pieces of chicken to a serving plate (cover with foil) and place the sauce in a small pot and boil it down until it thickens. serve with the chicken.

finger-licking-good & always a big hit!



Anonymous said...

I love Zaatar, this looks so yummy. :-) This is actually a seasoning I just recently learned about and have used in a few stuffed bread recipes I love.

burekaboy — said...

jamila - hope you give it a try for dinner one night. so easy, soooo good :)) great bbq-ed, too. i guess since it's leb it wasn't in your repertoire (til now!).

Arabic Bites said...

Hi burekaboy,
your honey za'atar chicken looks delicious!
Thanks so much for mention our blog.

burekaboy — said...

zainab - it's one of my favourite dishes :)

you're very welcome for the link. your blog is great and i can see the work you and your sister are putting into it. looking forward to more great things from you two in the future :D

Beenzzz said...

This chicken recipe looks wonderful. I have a zatar salt mixture. I guess I should use it!

burekaboy — said...

hey beenzzz - you should really try it like this. lemme know what you think, if you do .... i actually have a 1 lb bag of za'atar to use up!!

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

This looks really yummy right about now... you are a corrupting influence! ;-)

burekaboy — said...

emily - i aim to corrupt; i can't believe you WON'T each chicken! LOL. this recipe is actually incredibly good and worth a momentary lapse of vegetarianism, especially for the prefast meal :))

~M said...

Hi Burekaboy!
I was going to make chicken soup as a prefast meal, but I'm going to make this instead, as I have bags of za'atar courtesy of my savta's last trip to Israel.

Tonight, I'm going to make this as is (except only drumsticks)...but, next time, I think I'm going to try this in the crockpot on low for 5 hours. As a student, I love the crockpot.

I wish you a tzom kal!

burekaboy — said...

hi ~m - tzom kal gam lach (o lecha!)

i also have a ton of za'atar i MUST use up before it goes "flat" on me.

the chicken works with any kind cut you want but i find keeping the skin on makes it turn out the best as the meat stays juicy and a little skin never kills ya'.

as for the crockpot, it'll for sure work however you'll end up with a different texture as baking it gives it a crispy skin. the crockpot will give more of a soft and "stewed" texture (still v. good). i'd probably remove the skin or most of it, if doing it in the crockpot.

all to say, i hope you enjoy it. again, easy fast and shanah tovah. thanks for trying out the recipe. lemme know how it turns out :) hope you like.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean about the za'atar "going flat". I have a bag from my last trip to Israel. I haunt local grocery stores wherever I travel, looking for interesting finds. I picked that up along with pomegranate syrup. Have not used either. Your chicken looks delicious but can I use za'atar that's a few years old?


burekaboy — said...

deanna - oh, i have a VERY hot kitchen because of the design, so i'm always concerned that the ambient heat is going to dull the flavours of my spices (of which i have many).

don't worry, i've had za'atar that's fairly aged also, and it's still fine. hope you do try the chicken, it's really good & great for shabbat and yomtov ;)

as for pomegranate syrup, YUM -- i'll post recipes later using it. did you get a chance to go to kalustyan's while you were in NYC??

Anonymous said...

made this for sunday lunch.made my own za'atar-an aproximation-and we enjoyed a lot the sweet and also hot taste.very easy and great mix of spices.thanks borekita!

burekaboy — said...

hi sari - i've made my own zaatar also at times when i didn't have any left. glad to hear you liked the chicken dish. it's one of my favourites, too :) thanks for letting me know how it turned out.

~M said...

Hi Bureka Boy!

I made the honey zaatar chicken but upon a closer reading of the zaatar package, it contained gluten so only my fiancé got to eat it. Well, at least I didn't get sick. Do you know if there is a version of zaatar that is Pesadich since that would probably be gluten-free? Or else, I'll try to find some sumac; I have the other ingredients to make my own.

Also, have you ever tried this honey-lemon-zaatar treatment on fish? I was thinking of using some salmon fillets.

Todah Rabbah!

burekaboy — said...

~m - oh no! i seriously don't understand the concept of having gluten included in a za'atar mix?!! doesn't make sense to me. poor you. the only thing i can suggest is making it yourself; i've never seen a pessakhdikke mixture for it since i don't think sesame seeds are KLP. do invest time in finding sumac. you can get it online, too. i hope your fiancé liked the dish in spite of the 'shtuyot' im ha'za'atar. you can indeed use the mixture with salmon. it works nicely.

glad to hear you didn't find out about the za'atar after the fact..... btw, re cake question other day, if you used a cake pan larger than i used that could have also had something to do with creating a drier texture. just an afterthought.

~M said...

Hi again, Bureka Boy,

Is there any reason that this mixture could not be applied to a whole chicken? My local grocery store only has kosher boneless skinless breasts (which are only decent if cooked in flavorful liquid in the crockpot) or kosher whole chickens. But I believe I found gluten-free zaatar! :) Normally, when I bake a whole chicken, I separate the skin from the meat and then put my spice mixture in between. The skin keeps the bird moist, but if I don't want to eat the skin (I usually only eat a few crunchy bites), I haven't sacrificed flavor.

Here, I was thinking of combining salt, pepper, paprika with a pinch of cayenne, onion and garlic powders, zaatar, and 6-8 T honey. I would sprinkle the lemon juice on the bird on the morning (keeping the squeezed lemon for the cavity). Then I would put the honeyed spice mixture between the skin and meat and cook per my normal whole chicken baking instructions. What are your thoughts? It would be great to get amounts from you on the spices, if possible!

Shabbat Shalom!