Sunday, August 11, 2013

Za’atar Chicken with Fattoush

Enjoy spicy za'atar chicken with fattoush, a refreshing salad made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, green onions and toasted pita bread.

When I get a new cookbook, I sit and read it cover to cover, even in bed at night, delaying lights out to finish just one last story or one last recipe.  I bookmark dishes to try and occupy the next weeks skipping happily through the markets, finding new ingredients, chopping and stirring and baking and cooking.  I’m in my element.

One of my favorite authors in my cookbook collection is Nigella Lawson.  She has a bright and easy way of writing and cooking that I adore.   When I bought her Forever Summer, one of the first meals I made was this tasty za’atar chicken with fattoush.  When I read that our host for #SundaySupper this week, Amy from KimChiMom, had chosen spices as our theme, I knew immediately that I had to make this!  The lovely Arabic mix of thyme, sesame seeds and ground sumac of the za’atar coats the chicken and gives it wonderful aromatic flavors as it roasts.  The fattoush, a tomato and cucumber salad with toasted pita bread, compliments it perfectly.

For the chicken:
Olive oil
1 large chicken (approx. 4 1/2-5 1/2 lbs or 2-2.5kg), cut into 8 pieces
4-6 tablespoons za’atar – can be purchased online at Penzey’s Spices or any Middle Eastern market
Maldon sea salt

For the fattoush:
1/2 English cucumber
4 Roma tomatoes
1 bunch spring onions
1 small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
1 clove garlic, minced
Good handful black olives
5 1/4 oz or 150g crumbled feta cheese
Sprinkle of za’atar
Juice 1/2 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pita breads

Pour a good couple of glugs of olive oil into the roasting pan and put the chicken pieces skin side up in the oil.  Turn the chicken pieces over and sprinkle the za’atar liberally over them.

Sprinkle with sea salt.  Turn them skin side up and sprinkle liberally again with za’atar and a little salt.

Leave to marinate for an hour or so, or overnight, covered, in the refrigerator if you have the time.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.  (If the chicken has been chilled, bring it to room temperature.)

Roast the chicken for about 45-60 minutes, or until it is golden and cooked through.

Meanwhile, chop your tomatoes and cucumbers and pile them into a big salad bowl.  Mince the garlic and chop the spring onions and mint and add them in.

Halve the olives and add them into the salad with the crumbled feta.  Sprinkle lightly with za’atar.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the roasting pan from the oven and set aside, covered with foil.

Cut the pita breads open lengthways so that you have four very thin halves then toast them in the oven until golden and crunchy.  Take them out and let them cool.

Squeeze the lemon over the salad and give it a generous drizzle of olive oil.  Toss lightly.

Break the toasted pita breads into pieces and add to the salad.  Toss again lightly.

Serve alongside some tasty za’atar chicken.  


If you like things spicy, hot or not, have a look at all the lovely Sunday Supper spice-filled recipes my fellow bloggers have for you this week.

Snappy Starters & Snacks

Fiery Main Dishes

Searing Sauces & Seasonings

Zesty Sweets & Sips


  1. I love Za'atar - I just stir a spoonful through my mediterranean roast veggies at the moment so thanks for the inspiration

  2. Love to try za'atar with chicken! And those pita chips inside the salad are perfect Stacy!

  3. Oooh! What a good idea, Fiona! I will try that next time I roast vegetables.

  4. The whole meal is one of our favorites, Paula!

  5. One of my all time favorite middle eastern dishes! There is a restaurant here where I go when I am getting the taste for it. No clue why I hadn't made it yet at home. Thanks for sharing your recipe =)

  6. This seems so simple and flavorful. I adore meals like this!

  7. I love za’atar and I'm always looking for a way to use it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. I've been eyeing the za'atar at Penzey's for years...and now you've given me a delicious excuse to buy some :)

  9. You've gifted me with a happy flashback to my UCLA college days, Stacy. (Long since bought out by a stylish boutique.) I love the Middle Eastern chicken with cucumbers, tomatoes and feta wrapped up into a pita. Thank you for sharing the recipe =)

  10. As you can see, it's the easiest thing ever, Helene! You need to try it!

  11. Me too, Nichole! Spice mixes add such a lot of flavor.

  12. Must confess that I bought the 4 oz. bag, Liz, which was about $8, I think. Even the big bottle didn't seem like enough for the price they were asking. It's great on fish, especially salmon, as well.

  13. Oh, yay! That makes me smile, Kim. It would be great stuffed in a pita, once you removed the bones. :) Or maybe start with boneless thighs or breasts and roast for a shorter time.

  14. Love the exotic twist on roast chicken! If I was to make "fattoush" here in the house of Italians I'd be disowned for bastardizing panzanella LOL - I need you for backup!

  15. Tell them it's a completely DIFFERENT salad, Sarah! Fattoush is Arabic! So the pita is essential. Although I'd understand their argument because the idea is obviously of the same origin. :) The olives and feta aren't even original so they should be even more alike. I add those because we like them.

  16. This looks great! Tell me about this spice Stacy - is there a reference point that you can tell me it would taste like?

  17. G'day Stacy! LOVE your recipe, true!
    LOVE the combination of ingredients and is so healthy and simple to do! Thank you!
    Cheers! Joanne

  18. Ooh this dish looks absolutely delicious!Need to find Za'atar here in NJ and cannot wait to try!I love the spices in the chicken and the addition of pita in the salad sounds great!

  19. The ground sumac is lemony, Kelli, so imagine lemon and thyme. The toasted sesame seeds add a bit of a nutty flavor. Here's what it looks like up close. The red is the sumac.

  20. Most welcome, Joanne! Thank you for your kind words.

  21. Any Middle Eastern shop would sell it, Soni. It's great on fish as well!

  22. I will get some - but do you mean sumac like grows wild here? At least it grows wild in Oklahoma. I love lemony tasting chicken so I must try it!

  23. Oh my, I need to try this soon! So simple and so flavorful! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Does it look like little red berries, Kelli? About the size of a peppercorn when dried?

  25. Thank YOU for hosting this week, Amy! Fantastic theme!

  26. That's it then! Try letting some of the berries dry out and grind them up and taste a little. You can make your own za'atar!

  27. Oh what a lovely blend of spices for the chicken. The fattoush looks so fresh and summery too.

  28. Yes! I have that cookbook and that was my first recipe from it too! It's been forever. I need to make it again.

  29. I love za’atar, I have some in the pantry that really needs to get used more often. I absolutely love the salad that this chicken is accompanied with.

  30. It's one of our favorite salads, Renee, with or without the chicken.

  31. It has been a while for me too, Carla, but, seriously, when I heard Spice! I thought of it immediately. As you know, it's that good!

  32. I have some in the cupboard too, Laura, and it's probably getting old. :) But since I was in Houston, I bought fresh and it made me realize I should probably chuck what I have here in Dubai now and buy more. I left the balance of the new packet with my mother-in-law in the States since she loved the chicken so much and wanted to replicate it.

  33. Yum! I adore za'atar. I've been sprinkling it on pitas with a bit of olive oil and then baking the breads until crispy. So, so good with hummus! Love the idea of this chicken with the fattoush. Definitely a perfect combination. Oh, and in terms of storing za'atar, I normally just put a bit in my frying pan to re-toast the spices a bit if I feel it's getting a little less 'fresh'. Works a treat! xx

  34. Re-toasting does help bring spices back to life, Laura. I must remember that! Toasted pitas with hummus is a great use of pita that is getting stale and delicious as well. It's the law of pita bread but no matter if i buy one packet or two, we always seem to have a couple leftover that I shove in the freezer. Sometimes they become bread crumbs and sometimes they are toasted for dipping purposes. Next time I will drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle some za'atar as well. Thank you!


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