The partnership between Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is one that I find truly inspirational. They both seem to have an intuition for creating beautifully balanced food, that delivers in not only flavour and texture, but visually as well. The fact that their friendship is stronger than politics (one being of Palestinian background and the other Israeli) is also something to be celebrated and admired. How wonderful it would be if the world were full of people as respectful, caring and tolerant as they are… to live in a world where each person can accept and also be accepted for the unique person that he/she is… race, religion, skin colour and sexual orientation being not something we disagree and fight over, but something that is simply a part of us, no more, no less. Ahhh yes… my ever-optimistic heart hopes to one day see a world in peace.
The following dish is one that I’ve cooked several times before, though always using the original recipe which features thinly sliced lemon, rather than the bright and beautiful blood orange that I’ve used here. I must admit to preferring it this new way, as the blood orange gives a sweeter citrus balance that I find much more pleasurable to eat. With the lemon, I find myself scooping most of the slices to the side of my plate, to be left untouched while I devour the rest of my meal. I’ve also adjusted the quantity of onions to just the one… this was plenty 😉 in my opinion.
I sense that this recipe is more likely to be attributable to Sami, rather than Yotam, with it being based on the traditional Palestinian dish ‘M’sakhan’ (roasted chicken with sumac on flatbreads – something I’m now desperate to cook as well!) Either way, it’s such a delicious dish and one that I can only urge you to try sometime very soon.
Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Blood Orange à la Ottolenghi/Tamimi
- 1 Large Free-Range Chicken (jointed into quarters)*
- 1 Red Onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1½ Teaspoons Ground Allspice (Pimento)
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Sumac
- 1 ½ Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Medium Blood Orange (thinly sliced)
- 200ml Chicken Stock or water
- 2 Tablespoons Za’atar
- 1 Teaspoon Unsalted Butter
- 50g Pine Nuts
- 4 Tablespoons Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley (chopped)
In a large bowl, place the chicken, onion, garlic, oil, spices, blood orange and stock/water. Mix well to ensure the chicken pieces are well coated. Leave to marinade in the fridge for at least a few hours, or if possible overnight.
Pre-heat the oven 200°C. Transfer the chicken and all of it’s marinade to a large baking tray, with the chicken pieces skin-side up and with a little space between each one. Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and onions and then place into the hot oven. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is beautifully coloured and cooked through.
Towards the end of the above cooking time, place the butter into a small frying pan to melt over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt and stir until golden. Transfer to a small plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess butter.
When the chicken is cooked, transfer to a serving plate, along with the onions and orange. Top with the chopped parsley, pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.
Serve with any or all of the following: warm pita bread / basmati rice / garlicky yoghurt sauce (made by mixing together some Greek yoghurt with a little crushed garlic, olive oil and S&P).
* I jointed a chicken for the very first time to prepare this dish. In the past, I’ve used skin-less thigh fillets, but having tried it this way, it’s so obvious that the meat is much more delicious when roasted on the bone and with the skin attached (makes sense really!) I used some tips for how to joint a chicken from the following website: Delia Online. It’s a great technique to learn and really not that hard when it comes down to it.
(Adapted from a recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi in their cookbook – ‘Ottolenghi, The Cookbook’)