Chicken with Za’atar and Lemon – and a “Thank You and Welcome”!

I’ve been reluctant to embrace Facebook or Twitter. I did set up a Facebook account but can’t figure out how to link it to my WordPress blog and vice versa. People have suggested I do this to increase readership and subscribers to the blog. But despite this, and ever so quietly, over the last few months, so many lovely new folk have been joining us either Down by the Sea or Up the Mountain. It’s been wonderful to see new comments and to hear new “voices” as well as those of old friends on the blog. So I say, thank you to you all for sticking with me and welcome to all our new friends. And any advice on the Facebook button would be gratefully accepted….

So, back to the food today.  It’s been a while since my good friend Mr Ottolenghi made an appearance (at least, recipe wise) in my kitchen. A freezer full of chicken breasts (our least favourite part of the bird and what always seems to be left until last from our chicken despatch sessions) needs to be dealt with.  “Flavour, flavour and more flavour”, I say and this easy recipe (which I adapted a little due to lack of ingredients) really did the job.

Lemon Zaatar Chicken (4)

I have given both my version and Mr O’s version below.

Ingredients (to serve 2)

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized chunks (he uses a whole chicken, jointed)
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced (2 red onions in original recipe)
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • About 2 tbsp olive oil (4 tbsp in original recipe)
  • ½ tsp all spice (1 ½ tsp in original recipe)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon (1 tsp in original recipe)
  • 1 tbsp sumac (I didn’t have this so put ½ tsp of hot pimentón which is not at all similar but worked well – you could use lemon juice or zest for the lemony flavour of sumac)
  • 1 lemon, halved and thinly sliced
  • 200ml chicken stock or water
  • Pinch salt (1 ½ tsp in original recipe)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp za’atar (2 tbsp in original)

Mix the chicken with all the ingredients and leave to marinate for a few hours (which I did) or overnight. Bring to room temperature and cook in a hot oven in a dish which allows you to spread everything out. Mine took about 40 minutes to cook, allow longer for a whole chicken.

In the original recipe, the za’atar is sprinkled over just before cooking and it is served sprinkled with pine nuts fried in butter and chopped parsley.

Lemon Zaatar Chicken (2)

I served it with rice cooked with pepper and peas and the taste was beautiful, the chicken juicy and very similar in taste to a Spanish “pinchito” or little kebab and the lemon was sweet and caramelised. Definitely a dish to make again!


67 thoughts on “Chicken with Za’atar and Lemon – and a “Thank You and Welcome”!

  1. Sounds so delicious – no hang on, SCRUMITY. 😀
    There is a button to push in the background somewhere to get the facebook button – I never seemed to get it right either so my Pete modified something for me, which I cannot possibly remember how to do it again. Hope you get some wise words to sort it out.
    Have a lovely day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. Thanks Mandy! From reading other comments I am starting to go back to my initial views on Facebook and Twitter (i.e. I probably won’t bother!) but I just felt like I was being a bit of an old dinosaur by not joining in!

  2. Oh boy that sounds and looks good! I wish I could help with the Facebook thing, but I don’t even have an account. I worry I would procrastinate even more than I do.

    1. Hee hee, I think I may well not bother….it seems a lot of hassle for a lot of nothing. After all, I already have lots of lovely blogging pals right here!

  3. Both Sumac and Z’atar are in my store cupboard. I hardly ever use them as they were given to me by an Ottolenghi and I don’t have any Ottolenghi books, or I’d be a lover as well. This recipe sounds fabulous and I’m doing it. By the way, I particularly dislike Face Book, and I’m happy to settle for less followers.

    1. I think I’m with you Roger. I set up the page very half heartedly (it doesn’t have anything on it) and I’m not really sure what I would do with it if I knew how to use it! You know already I am a fan of Ottolenghi’s recipes – and lots of veggie ones in his books for Jenny, can’t recommend them enough.

  4. Hi, good food and great posts sell themselves! And this chicken looks so finger-licking good! I always have Za’tar on hand thanks to a Turkish friend:) Facebook and Twitter can be good fun but they are time drains:)

  5. Yep…saving this one for future reference. Always on the lookout for yummy chicken recipes. Have never heard of Za’tar before but will be on the hunt for it now.
    Re Facebook…I just get WordPress to automatically upload each post to FB for me…I get the coverage on FB without it sucking all the time out of my day. Twitter….I can live without!

    1. This is indeed a yummy chicken recipe (and I don’t really like the breast) – we had no leftovers (and I usually make waaaay too much!). Sounds like some wise advise re your approach to FB…thanks.

      1. I can live without FB but most other folks I know can’t. So this ticks the box without me having to faff around with it. I can spend quite enough time in Blogland without adding mindless FB wanderings to the list! 😉

  6. MMmmm…..this looks delicious, Tanya!

    I’ve just opened up a FB page and linked my WP account to it, as well as to Twitter. You need to open up your Dashboard and go down to the bottom of the column to hover over the word “Settings”. Another little box will appear and you need to click on “Sharing”. The next page allows you to Publicize your blog posts to FB, Twitter, LinkedIn or Tumblr – just add your details and follow the instructions.

    As you then post each individual post in the future, you have the option of allowing your blog post to publish to FB, Twitter etc or not, as you wish.

    Hope that helps and if you have any trouble or need any more help, give me a shout!

    Good luck 🙂

    1. Ooh thanks for this tecchie advice Marianne – sounds pretty straightforward, so will give it a go. But if it doesn’t work have decided I’m not going to worry too much!

  7. Glad you’re getting more visitors, Tanya. Your recipes always sound delicious, even to a lazy cook like me.
    So glad Marianne helped out. I’m linked but couldn’t begin to remember how I did it. Wouldn’t it be great to have a techie brain. I read WordPress tips posts and go “er, run that past me again”. 🙂

  8. That looks delicious!
    I’d have to agree with Roger with regard to FaceBook – to me it seems to be like a load of people talking nonsense and gossip in a bar, which is fine when drinking in a bar, but otherwise I could really do without it. Twitter seems to be even worse. But regardless, lots of people like them, so each to his or her own 😉

    1. Loved the analogy of the bar talk – brilliant! I agree, I can’t understand the attraction of Twitter at all, who on earth would be interested in knowing I’m sitting on a bus (well, that would be rather unusual Up the Mountain) or that I’ve just paid my gas bill 😉

      1. I’d quite like to hear about the view from on top of the mountain, though I suspect there’s no reception up there – perhaps that’s how it should be 😉

      2. Mobile reception is complete erratic. I could Tweet quite frequently about goats walking past, donkeys braying and dogs barking 🙂 Cutting edge stuff!

  9. From one dinosaur to another, I will lend you my ears…sorry for loosely bastardising William Shakespeare there but my “ears” are Steve. He is able to slowly and easily explain technology to ANYONE. You think you are a ludite or technophobe? You are the equivalent of a silicon valley I.T. expert compared to my dear late mum. Steve spent hours on the phone to her trying to explain “Copy” and “Paste” when she went all 20th century and bought a computer. Not only did he do that once…he did it on a regular basis. Every time he was patient and didn’t lose his cool where I was staring in incredulity at the phone (on loud speaker) at him having to explain it for the 100th time. I would have given up but he never did. He is our computer wiz and he set the Facebook button for me. If you would like him to send you a simple email with screen shots of exactly what to do he will. We did it for my sister who wanted to know how to insert images into her new WordPress blog and the Facebook button is a doddle. In fact, I will get him to do it when he gets up as we haven’t got any studies to do today and aside from walking the dogs we have a day off :). It certainly gives your blog a bit of a kick start when you allow people using popular social networks to reblog you all over the place. We dinosaurs might not give a damn about social media (unless it is our own blogs 😉 ) but “they” do so I guess if you give “them” what they want, they will keep coming back and spreading the word :).

    1. Oh narf that would be wonderful! I seem to have managed to publish posts to Facebook but every time I put the Facebook “Like” widget on, it just appears as a big white box on my homepage. My mum has just bought a laptop and my best friend is (very patiently) giving her lessons. She learned to type “properly” at school and sits poised ready to “take a letter Miss Roberts”…I’m so proud of her 🙂

      1. I was proud of mum to right up till the time where she got a spam email about her having an infected computer and promptly ignored our repeated warnings about ringing us FIRST before doing anything and sent off her credit card details to the spammer…sigh…she didn’t wear anything from the ordeal (we made her go change her credit card immediately!) but I see echoes of it in my own kids “MUM what the hell? Why did you type that? Don’t you know you are going to get spammed out of that?!!!”…sigh…It’s 5.46am here at the moment. I won’t bustle Steve out of bed quite yet but when we walk the dogs and get back we will sit down and compile you a screen shot step by step email. If I can follow it…YOU can follow it. I am the technophobe filter in this family. If I get it, so does the rest of the world 😉

      2. Oh your poor mum and poor you – I can imagine how worried you must have been. Hopefully mine won’t fall into the trap, I think we’ve frightened the pants off her with warnings and she’s so worried she’ll “break” the computer 🙂 No rush re the advice, but I will be grateful for any help at all….what great blogging pals I have, I’m a lucky Chica!

  10. I enjoyed Yotem on the telly – his recipes all sounded achievable but also exotic. This chicken sounds lovely (and I have sumac!) so I will give it a go 🙂

  11. Your version looks wonderful! I love za’atar – it’s not easy to find here, but my son has recently brought me a huge packet of it from London (originally from Jordan, but via London!), so I’m putting it on everything now!

    1. Yes, mine came from my mum (she made it for me) via London! It’s lovely with bread dipped in olive oil then the za’atar. An I think I’m now going to get the Facebook options – lots of lovely people are helping me out 🙂

  12. Ah, I recognise this recipe, one of our Ottolenghi favourites, and yours looks delectable. Nice to have recently found your blog, enjoying your posts. Re Facebook, once you’ve linked your account it is easy to publicise but I hardly use Facebook, don’t enjoy it hence it doesn’t drive traffic my way. Twitter is a whole lot more fun, and I’be made some nice connections that way. Good luck if you decide to delve in!

    1. Everyone has been brilliant with the Twitter and FB advice – so helpful for a novice like me, I really appreciate it 🙂 Glad you know the recipe, we loved it. Whenever I cook like this with lemons, Big Man usually picks them out but this time he even scoffed those 🙂 I have now spotted another one on the next page involving hazelnuts and saffron (I think) so that will be played with soon….

  13. Looks delicious, Tanya. Aren’t Mr. Ottolenghi’s recipes wonderful? I’ll give the dissenting opinion on social media though. I really enjoy both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is great for keeping up with old friends (and for keeping one’s finger to the pulse of some idiot acquaintances—one really needs to keep up with what they’re thinking to know what one is up against :)). And, though I’m a complete lurker there, Twitter can be really amusing.

    1. It’s good to hear another point of view on FB and Twitter! I think I’m probably going to go down the route of linking the accounts but not posting on FB (I don’t actually know how to!). I can see their value for sure and I know a lot of people really have a lot of fun with them. Glad you liked the recipe, I don’t think I’ve found one in each of his books that I have that I don’t want to cook and eat 🙂

  14. This is a great recipe, Tanya. I made a similar version a while back, having gotten the recipe from a fellow blogger. I’d say I’ll soon make it again but you’ve reminded me it’s time to replace the sumac and za’atar. 🙂
    I have a FaceBook page but feel it is more nuisance than anything else. For some reason, the link between WP and FB “broke” a while back and I’ve been hopelessly behind posting “over there” ever since. And don’t get me started on Twitter …. 🙂

    1. Sumac and Za’atar are such handy mixes to have to hand. Not very Italian but lovely nonetheless! And I seem to be getting the same advice from so many folk…just don’t bother with FB and Twitter 🙂 And when your friends give you advice…well, it’s usually best to listen I think!

  15. The chicken looks lovely and the recipe easy: could pick the offering off the screen! I prefer the softer, juicier thighs: to each their own. I came upon za’atar and sumac about a decade ago: use the former regularly in all Mid-Eastern and fusion food, the latter not so much. Please listen to Mad Dog and Roger re Facebook: I had a fab time for 18 months until I realized I was beginning to live in a virtual world which took up a disproportionate amount of time: ‘resigned’ about a year ago, absolutely no regrets 🙂 !

    1. I’m a thigh girl too (and Big Man prefers them) but we always have to deal with the chicken breasts as we have 2 types of chickens we rear – one for eggs and one for eating. So…where there’s a chicken for eating there’s a breast! I would make this again with thighs though, much tastier! And thanks for the advice…I think I agree. I am going to link the posts to a Facebook page so that they publish there, but that’s it…no Facebooking or Twittering for me 🙂

  16. I’m not reading through all the comments to see if you’ve been helped with Facebook. If not, drop me an email. I don’t mind chicken breast but Dave prefers thighs so I usually don’t get the breasts 🙂

    1. We prefer the thighs too, but as we breed our own chickens for eating, we always have breasts to deal with at some point so I have to use them up 😦 The original recipe calls for a whole chicken, jointed, which I think would be much nicer! And thanks, the Facebook thing seems to have been dealt with – I have had so many offers of help, everyone is so kind….

  17. This looks delicious! I have a FB account and apparently simething happens when I post on WordPress but I have not seen much benefit. Like you, I am very pleased with the readership I’ve got (though mine is no great shakes number wise).

  18. This dish looks amazing! I can imagine the wonderful smell of it cooking. As for FB and twitter, I couldn’t figure it out either.

  19. Even though I had just had lunch, looking at your presentation made me feel hungry again. The addition of the Zataar is definitely a great twist.


  20. oh what a lovely site im very very impressed with the facebook button you must have employed a serious web expert ROTFL hello from steve 😉

  21. This looks very delicious and while I do have za’ataar on hand, I don’t have the sumac, so I’m glad you provided suggestions. I’ve just reserved Jerusalem from the library. Still don’t own an Ottelenghi book yet, but plan to soon…once we get over this mess here. 🙂

    1. Once you get hold of the book I promise you you’ll forget about all the jobs you should be doing to get the house back to normal. You’ll be found curled up somewhere with the book saying “oooh, this looks so good”!

  22. That looks so good. I have some chicken and some Za’tar and some lemons, gee, I think I’m set, and no idea on what to make on Saturday,
    And I wish I could help you with the FB thing, but I’m barely able to update my own stuff.

  23. Your chicken sounds delicious. I have the spices in New Hampshire to make this dish but not at the lake…I’ll be saving this recipe. I guess I’m a real dinosaur because I can’t get my Facebook to work with my blog. Because of that, I wouldn’t even attempt twitter or other add ons. I’m thrilled that I’ve gotten as far as I have just being able to blog. I’ll never be a techie. 🙂

    1. You’re not a dinosaur! I’m not into Facebook at all, I have the page now but don’t actually know what to do with it 😉 Do give thr recipe a go when you’re back in your other kitchen. I do the smae now and save recipes for when I’m int he UK and can hold of different ingredients. Aren’t we lucky?!

  24. This recipe from Ottolenghi was such a hit at our house Tanya! Positively oozing with flavor…a lick your fingers sort of dish. And you’ve captured its deliciousness in your photos!

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