Indy Power: Lip-smacking sumac chicken
This supremely succulent dish infuses chicken thighs with super sumac plus citrus and sesame.
Sesame, Lemon & Sumac chicken
This is such an easy dinner with masses of flavour. The juices make the best instant sauce - it's incredibly delicious over quinoa - and the sumac, lemon and sesame are a winning combination. You can throw this together at the last minute or leave it to marinate overnight: either way, it only takes seconds to prepare. I love using chicken thighs rather than breasts for recipes like this. They have so much more flavour and they're unbeatably tender - the meat just falls off the bone. They make much better leftovers too, as you can reheat them without them drying out. I always get them with the bone in; there's even more flavour and you can use the bones for bone broth afterwards. They're usually cheaper, too. When you roast them with the skin on like this, the crispy skin is just perfection with the super-tender meat. They're amazing braised too.
Serves 6. Gluten-free, dairy-free & paleo
6 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
1 tbsp sesame seeds
For the marinade:
1 tbsp sumac
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp chilli flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Add all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Place the chicken thighs in a roasting tray and pour the marinade generously over them. Leave to marinate in the fridge as long as you can.
Slice the lemons into wedges and place them between the chicken thighs. Place the tray in the oven to roast. After 30 minutes, spoon the juices over the chicken and then sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Pop them back in the oven for about another 10 minutes, until cooked through with crisp skin.
Plate the chicken. Squeeze the roasted lemons into the juices in the tray and serve poured over the chicken.
ONE TO TRY…
Sumac is one of the main ingredients in the Mediterranean spice blend za’atar. If you want to make your own, it’s super simple. To make one full spice jar of za’atar, combine 2 tsp sumac, 2 tbsp dried thyme, 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds and a good pinch of sea salt, then mix them all together.
You can store it in your spice cupboard for up to a year and you can add in a few extras if you like, such as dried oregano or cumin. Sprinkle this spice mix on salads or roast vegetables and add it to delicious marinades and dips.
Sumac is a bush found in the Middle East - we eat the berries, which have been picked, dried and ground into a powder. It’s got an amazing citrus, tart flavour that works well in so many different dishes and it’s got a gorgeous deep red colour, too. It’s used a lot in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking and it can be as simple as just sprinkling it on a salad or cooked dish before serving or you can use it in rubs or marinades like this recipe. The tangy flavour is hard to beat and particularly delicious with sesame seeds. Like all of my favourite ingredients, sumac isn’t just delicious, it’s extremely high in antioxidants and full of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, to name a few.