Zahara's Za'atar Chicken
I had to name this dish after my little monkey, it's all about the little Z. This dish is of Turkey origin and uses two of its famous herbs Za’atar and Sumac – the dish doesn't look too pretty but the chicken is most softest, moist, and flavoursome chicken I have ever tasted with a charcoal smokey exterior, absolutely delicious. It's perfect for really young babies, an ideal starter food, as it is so moist and tender. I did attempt a tahini dressing to go with it but found the taste just didn't compliment the chicken, so I would serve this with plain yogurt to dip occasionally, a salad, and some small oven cooked potatoes chunks and flatbread – if your making a feast out of it. The dish takes a few minutes to prep the night before, then it's a pretty much leave in the oven for 30 mins; what could go wrong!
Makes enough for two and a little one
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 bashed whole garlic cloves
1 lemon cut into thin slices
1 red onion cut in chunks
½ tbsp sumac
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tbsp za’atar
2 whole chicken breasts
To serve : 1/8 cup pine nuts
1. Put all ingredients except za’atar in a freezer bag with the chicken breast whole (not chopped up) and move the chicken around so the marinade coats it. Pop in fridge for around 24 hours.
2. Empty contents of bag into a oven dish, spoon the marinade onion/lemon/lemon on top of the chicken breast. Sprinkle the za’atar on top.
3. Cook uncovered in a preheated fan oven at 200C for 20 mins, the spoon some of the juices that have come out of the chicken over the chicken. Put back in oven for another 10 mins. Then serve, the onion, garlic and lemon are not meant to be eaten, so you could pick these off before serving. Sprinkle pine nuts on before serving.
Perfect dish for young babies as the chicken is super moist and soft. Za’atar and sumac both use salts in their preparation, za’atar is around 10% salt and sumac 5% salt, so it is perfectly safe to use in the quantities I have used above for a baby. The maximum salt the entire dish has is 1g salt, and little one is not eating the entire dish. Most supermarkets sell these herbs in the uk, just double check the salt content before using.
This dish has history, evidence suggests that the Egyptians used Za’atar! I love it when food has a really long history! In the eastern Mediterranean it's is believed that Za’atar makes the mind alert and the body strong, so you should definitely try this dish.