Tuesday 22 May 2018

Forkful's speedy suppers: Sumac chicken and spicy beef pittas

Sumac chicken thights
Sumac chicken thights
Spicy open beef pittas

Aoife McElwain

The build up to Christmas feels like it's in full swing already. As everyone's calendar gets even busier at this time of year, it's more important than ever to have speedy suppers to feed yourself fast, and well.

This week, the tangy berry notes of the sumac chicken thighs are delicious when served with a dollop of yoghurt and some simple couscous or roast potatoes.

You'll love the North African spiciness of our open beef pittas, which are gloriously simple to whip up.

Sumac chicken thighs

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 30 to 40 mins


1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of orange blossom water

8 chicken thighs

1 lemon

1 tablespoon of sumac

Fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of olive oil



Couscous or roast potatoes to serve


1. Mix the orange blossom and honey together.

2. Put chicken thighs in a roasting dish. Drizzle with orange blossom honey.

3. Squeeze over the juice of a lemon. Slice the leftover lemon rind into rounds and place in the tray.

4. Sprinkle evenly with sumac and fresh thyme, and a generous pinch of alt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

5. Roast in oven at 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6 for 30 to 40 minutes, or until thighs are cooked through.

6. Serve with couscous or roast potatoes.

Spicy open beef pittas

Serves 2

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins


Vegetable oil

400g beef mince

2 cloves of garlic, finely grated

1 heaped tablespoon of Ras el hanout spice blend

4 pitta bread (the thin, flat kind rather than the pitta pockets)

Half a red onion

2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt

1 tablespoon of water



Fresh mint


1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Cook the beef mince for 5 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until starting to brown.

2. Add the Ras el hanout and grated garlic to the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the beef is dark brown and cooked through.

3. Put some baking paper on a large baking tray and place the pittas flat on the tray (you may only have space for 2 at a time). Divide the beef between the pittas, spreading it evenly on top of each pitta. Finely slice the red onion in half-moon shapes and scatter over the top of the beef mince. Place under the grill for 3 minutes, until the onions are singed but the pitta is not burnt. This will also give the beef a nice crispiness.

4. Mix the yoghurt and water together. Serve the pittas drizzled with your runny yoghurt, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and finished off with some freshly torn mint.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Sumac: This dried, crushed berry is a delightful bright purple colour, and is used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine as a fragrant spice. It loves being paired with eggs but works equally well with chicken and lamb.

Photos: Mark Duggan 

Irish Independent

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