Tag Archives: za’atar

Chargrilled Chicken with Za’atar and Roasted Spiced Vegetables

Carrying on our Middle Eastern obsession we have another really simple dinner of griddled chicken with roasted vegetables and cous cous. This is quite similar to our za’atar steak recipe and is a great healthy yet filling option. It manages to be comforting enough for winter yet light enough for summer – these chicken breasts would be incredible cooked on a barbecue. This would also be delicious in a lunchbox or taken for a picnic, what a versatile dinner! You’ll see in the photos that we have 2 trays of vegetables – this was because we had veg to use up but in the ingredients we’ve given what should be enough for two people just to go with the dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 1 courgette, chopped into 2cm cubes/rings
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 peppers, sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 heaped tsp za’atar
  • Cous cous
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place your vegetables in a roasting dish and coat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the ras el hanout and a good pinch of sea salt. Toss the vegetables to coat them all in the oil and spices and then whack in the oven. These will take around 45 minutes to an hour to become perfectly soft and slightly charred around the edges. Stir them every 15 minutes or so and after around half an hour shake over the pomegranate molasses for the last part of cooking.

Roasted Moroccan Veg

For the chicken place the breasts between cling film, one at a time. Use the base of a large pan to bash them out until they are about 3cm thick and an even thickness all over. Once they’re both done heat up a griddle pan. Coat the breasts with a little olive oil and once the griddle pan is nice and hot place the chicken on. Let it cook on the first side for about 1 minute so that it can start charring and then turn over. On the side that you have already started to cook and is now facing up, sprinkle half of the za’atar so it coats the chicken. After 1 minute on the other side flip the chicken over again and sprinkle the rest of the za’atar on the other side. The chicken should take about 4 minutes on each side to cook so just keep an eye on it and turn it occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. The sesame seeds in the za’atar should become lovely and toasted during this time… it smells amazing!

Chicken za'atar

Just before you’re ready to serve make some cous cous by placing it in a bowl, covering with boiling water (to about 1cm above the cous cous) and covering the bowl tightly with cling film. Leave it for about five minutes and you should have perfectly fluffy cous cous! Fluff it up with a fork and season with salt. Whack the whole lot on a warmed plate and you’re done! We sliced our chicken up before serving but that’s up to you – whatever you prefer.

Za'atar chicken done

This was lovely hot but would also be great cold – you could mix the vegetables into the cous cous and serve with the sliced chicken for a mid-week lunch to make your colleagues jealous!

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Za’atar Steak with Spicy Sumac Roasted Vegetables

Bird has a bit of a problem. It’s the reason our spice cupboard (yes, we have a whole cupboard) is the biggest mess you’ve ever seen. It’s an obsessive need to buy any interesting spice that she’s heard of, or one that she hasn’t, that we don’t currently own. This time resulted in za’atar and sumac cluttering up our kitchen. These are both widely used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking – sumac is a beautiful deep red/purple course powder made of crushed, dried fruits which, despite their fiery colouring have no heat, just a beautiful lemony tang. Lebanese style Za’atar contains sumac along with some earthy freshness from thyme and oregano, aniseed sweetness from fennel and rich creaminess from toasted sesame seeds. Za’atar can come in many guises, this is just the blend of ours, have a look and see what you can find!

Sumac
Sumac

We also had a craving for steak and thought it would be fun to try our new spices on some lovely rib eye steaks. It’s most unusual for us to not have any chilli in things so we put a little in with the vegetables and then smothered the steaks in za’atar and oil and popped them on a really hot griddle pan for just a few seconds a side. This is a brilliant meal for those who love their aromatic spices but don’t get on so well with chilli as you could leave it out entirely and still have a burst of gorgeous spices. It’s also incredibly flexible, these spices are slightly mellower than many we use so would go with mild fish, vegetables or white meat right through to steak like we did.

Ingredients

  • mixed vegetables which are great for roasting – we used an aubergine, some peppers, red onion and mushrooms
  • 1 heaped tsp of sumac
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • vine tomatoes
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 steaks
  • 1 tbsp of za’atar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • flatbreads/pitta breads to serve

Bit of a non-recipe really… preheat the oven to 190°C. Chop up all of the vegetables apart from the tomatoes into bite sized chunks and mix with the sumac, the chilli flakes if using, the sea salt and the olive oil in a large roasting dish and whack them in the oven. They will take about 45 minutes to roast and need a shake around every 15 minutes or so. Mix the za’atar with the extra virgin olive oil to form a paste and smear all over the steaks to briefly marinate. After nearly half an hour of the vegetables roasting add in the vine tomatoes. Then after a further 10 minutes add the pomegranate molasses to add some tangy sweetness.

Sumac vegetables

Now is the time to get your griddle pan super hot and then stick the steaks on, we did ours for less than a minute a side because we love ours really rare but just turn the heat under the griddle down a little and cook it for longer. Make sure you scrape all of the toasted herbs and seeds onto the steak, the sesame seeds are gorgeous! Serve with the vegetables and some warmed flatbreads or pittas (and a cheeky glass of wine!).

Steak with vegetables