Chicken with Sumac and Caramelized Onions
This recipe requires long marination.
Muskahan is a traditional chicken recipe in Jordan, Palestine and other nearby areas of the Levant. It's served both at family gatherings and as a street food, with the bread serving as a sandwich. It consists of three parts: a flat bread named taboon, caramelized onions and a piece of chicken marinated with sumac and other spices. The whole thing is topped with toasted pine nuts or almonds, which provide a needed crunch to the whole dish.
We were very happy with the results, I particularly enjoyed the combination of flavors and of textures. While I served it on a weeknight, this is the sort of dish that can easily star in a dinner party.
Taboon is a flatbread cooked on a taboon oven which in turn is quite similar, in shape and etymology, to a South Asian tandoor. Thus Indian naan is a good substitute and much easier to find in America. I used frozen naan from my local Indian store, which I put in a baking sheet along with the slivered almonds and put in the oven ten minutes before the chicken was meant to be done. That worked perfectly.
- 3 lbs chicken parts
- For the marinade
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sumac
- 1 Tbsp ground allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- For the onions
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 lbs red or white onions, sliced
- 3 Tbsp sumac
- 1 tsp salt
- For the final dish
- 4-6 taboon or naan bread
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
Wash and pat dry chicken.
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken and rub marinade all over. Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Transfer chicken and marinade to a baking dish. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
While the chicken is baking, prepare the onions. Heat the olive oil on a frying pan over high heat. Add the sliced onions and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the sumac and the salt. Continue cooking until the onions are caramelized, stirring frequently, around 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
Once the chicken is done, remove the baking dish from the oven and transfer the chicken to a dish. Add the taboon or naan to the baking dish and allow to soak in the sauce.
Transfer the bread to a serving dish. Spread the caramelized onions on top of the bread and top with the chicken. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped cilantro.
Adapted from Sarah-Eden Dadoun's recipe at 196 flavors
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