Thanksgiving is behind us and at least for me, Hanukkah is ahead. There is a quick turn around time this year with Hanukkah starting next Sunday, so I spent the weekend cleaning wax off of my heavily dripped upon menorahs. I think it has been years since I’ve done this and I did manage to get 8 of them fairly clean. No Zoe-I didn’t do all of them. I figured 8 is enough! From now on-thanks to my Illinois cousins-I will put aluminum foil at the base of each candle to avoid a waxy mess. Now why didn’t someone tell me this sooner?
Next year Hanukkah doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve so I know I will be more than ready. Hah! Who am I kidding? It always seems like a rush to be ready and my kids are both grown so what am I kvetching about? In either case, there is always one food that we will be eating on Hanukkah and that is latkes. I think it is the one time in my house where it is legal to fry. I could gorge on fried potato pancakes, but I always try to make a real meal, which must include more than fried foods-much to my regret!
You know that za’atar is one of my favorite seasonings so I must not let the year slip by without sharing this very simple roasted chicken. I made mine with just chicken breasts but one could easily use a spatchcocked chicken or a chicken divided into quarters. This is an easy marinade and bake. That way one can focus on frying the latkes! Sumac has a lemony, tart taste and does give the chicken a pink coloring. Combined with the red onions this chicken is very colorful.
This is another Ottolenghi special from his book, Ottolenghi. I am a fan and I know you know it. Maybe if someone reads this they will get me his latest cookbook! Hint…Hint…It is that time of year. I’d love to know your favorite cookbooks-old or new. Cookbooks are some of my favorite reads and just like one can never have too much jewelry; well for me the same can be said of cookbooks. I go often to the library to try out new ones, but then if I really like it I don’t want to give them back. I usually keep checking them out over and over until they won’t let me anymore. Yes. I’m that girl!
So on to the chicken. It’s a good one to have in your back pocket. The spices make it something unusual which is always fun to try when company’s coming. Give it a go. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
Za’atar Roast Chicken with Lemons and Red Onions
Serves 4 -6 (Depends on how you cut the chicken)
Time to Make: A few hours or overnight to marinate-About 20 minutes to prep-And 45-60 minutes to bake
1 4-5 lb chicken cut as desired
2 red onions thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
4 T olive oil
1 1/2 t ground allspice
1 t cinnamon
1 T sumac
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3/4 c water or chicken stock
1 1/2 t salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
2 T za’atar
To Garnish: (Optional)
Pine nuts sauteed in butter
Fresh chopped parsley
Drizzle of olive oil
More za’atar and sumac
In a large zip lock bag mix chicken with onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt and pepper, (not the za’atar). Let marinate for a few hours or even overnight. Preheat oven to 400. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate all of the chicken lying flat and spaced apart, skin side up. Sprinkle with za’atar and place in oven. Roast for 45-60 minutes, until the chicken is colored and cooked through.
Transfer the chicken and onions to a serving platter and finish with your chosen garnishes. I always sprinkle on more za’atar and sumac!