We eat quite a bit of chicken in the house, which means that it’s easy to get bored of it. I try to experiment with new flavours to reinvent classic chicken dishes. In this post, the good old classic of butter basted roast chicken is getting a bit of a Middle Eastern remix thanks to simple za’atar spice rub. And instead of baked potatoes to accompany the chicken, chickpeas (a personal favourite of mine for years) step up to the plate and give potatoes a run for their money. This meal is hearty without leaving one feeling sluggish and is packed with protein, as both chicken and chickpeas are a great source of protein.
This recipe serves 2.
2 leg portions of a chicken (alternatively you can use 4 individual pieces. I usually prepare 2 pieces per person eating)
1 can of chickpeas in brine, drained and rinsed
1 small onion
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of ground cumin (separated)
2 tablespoons of ground coriander (separated)
1 tablespoon of za’atar spiced blend
2 teaspoons of salt (separated)
½ cup coconut milk (or yoghurt if you prefer)
¾ cup of chicken stock
20 grams of butter, melted
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
Optional: Greek yogurt and shredded mint to serve
How to make it:
To make the za’atar rub for the chicken, combine t teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of za’atar spice mix, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander in a cup and mix until a uniform rub is formed. Next rub it onto the chicken pieces, making sure that the chicken is completely coated in the spices. The chicken is now ready to go into the oven, however if you have time to let it sit in the spice rub to absorb the flavours before cooking it, then please do so.
Place the chicken in the oven in a preheated oven at 160˚C for about 40 minutes or until fully cooked. The time that the chicken will need in the oven differs according to the size of the chicken pieces. If you use whole leg pieces like I did, then 40 minutes will be enough time. If you use individual pieces then 30 minutes should suffice. To check if the chicken is cooked, prick the meat and if blood runs out, the chicken needs a little more time.
When the chicken is about halfway cooked, drizzle the melted butter over it and place it back in the oven.
To make the chickpeas: chop the onion super finely or place it in a food processor/ blender. Sauté the onion in a little olive oil in a skillet over a medium heat for about 3 minutes before adding the garlic. Then sauté for another 2 minutes before adding the spices: the remaining tablespoons of cumin and ground coriander. Sauté for another 2 minutes before adding the chickpeas. Stir again before adding the chicken stock and allow to simmer until about half of the liquid has evaporated. Next season with salt and add the yogurt. Stir and allow it to cook for a few more minutes depending on how dry you like your chickpeas. I like to mash a few using a fork but this part is optional. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and serve.
Suggestion: To make a whole roast chicken, stuff with spiced couscous and diced dried apricots.