I have two new ingredients to recommend to you this week. Both are essential ingredients in Middle Eastern cooking and just as delicious. Sumac is a beautiful condiment made from dried berries. It is somewhat similar to dark chili powder but tastes quite differently. It has a delicious citrus-like flavor and works beautifully with chicken. It’s so versatile, try sprinkling it over boiled eggs for something a little different, or on top of some Greek yogurt for a simple dip. You will find sumac in large supermarkets or in Asian or specialty food stores. It’s a beautiful ingredient, worthy of having in your spice drawer.
Pomegranate molasses is a dark, rich syrup made from pomegranate juice. It has a wonderful sweet and sour flavor and works beautifully in both savory and sweet dishes. You will likely need to get this from a specialty food store, and again, most good Asian supermarkets will stock it. A little of this goes a long way, but it’s a very versatile ingredient.
I came up with the recipe a few weeks ago when I was stuck with an idea for dinner. I had a whole chicken in the fridge, but since it was relatively late in the evening, I didn’t have time to roast it whole. Instead of breaking it into pieces, which would also work with this recipe, I decided to chop it up. Pasting the chicken just means unpacking it by removing the spine and flattening it. Doing so reduces the cooking time a lot, meaning you can roast a whole chicken in about 45 to 50 minutes.
The seasoning I use in this recipe takes only minutes to prepare, which means you can make a great dinner in less than an hour. While the chicken is roasting, you can make up several simple sides, I offer a few suggestions for those at the end of this recipe.
Spatchcock chicken with sumac and pomegranate molasses
I came up with this recipe when I was stuck with an idea for dinner and it was a huge success
Start by spraying the chicken. You can ask a butcher to do it for you if you’d like, but it’s relatively easy to do yourself. Begin by placing the chicken breast down with the legs toward you. Using sturdy shears or poultry shears, cut along each side of the spine from the pope’s nose to the neck cavity to remove it, cutting off the rib bones as you go. Open the chicken and flip it over. Flatten the breastbone by pressing firmly with the heel of your hand until the meat is about the same thickness, getting rid of any excess fat.
Grate the garlic and mix it with all the other ingredients in a bowl to make the marinade. Put the chicken in a grill tray and brush the bottom with some of the seasoning. Flip the chicken and pour in the rest of the marinade, working to coat the chicken completely.
Let the chicken sit in this marinade for about an hour if you have time, but cook it right away if you need dinner quickly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C with an oven fan, or 200°C for a conventional oven. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes. After twenty minutes, add 100 ml of water to the baking tray. The marinade is high in sugar so it can burn easily, adding water will prevent this from happening. Warm the chicken a few times while it’s cooking. Check the chicken to see if it is cooked through after 45 minutes. You need to check to make sure it’s cooked properly because the marinade is quite dark in color and this can make the chicken look like it’s overcooked as the skin will look very dark and almost charred before the meat is well done. by cooking it. If you have a meat thermometer, insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast. As soon as the chicken reaches a temperature of 74 ° C, it is fully cooked. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, stick a skewer or knife into the side of the breast near the leg joint. If the juices run clear, then the chicken is done.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the oven, cover it loosely with some tin foil to keep it warm, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. You can use this time to make a simple salad served with chicken. Cut half a cucumber and about 200 grams of sweet tomatoes. Put the cucumber in a serving bowl and add the tomatoes on top. Cut half a red onion into thin slices and chop the green pepper into thin slices. Drizzle over the tomatoes and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Finish off with a sprinkling of fine sea salt, some chopped flat-leaf parsley, and some pomegranate seeds. Another good thing to have with this is some greek yogurt with some lemon juice, grated garlic, olive oil, and whipped salt though, then sprinkle sumac on top.
Serve the chicken with some warm bread, salad, yoghurt, and, if you want to season it a little, chili sauce. Some fresh chili would be perfect. You can find my recipes for flat and crusty bread here.