Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust

The zaatar coating on these roast chicken legs is the real star of the show. The flavours of pomegranate molasses, mint and chili really are sublime together!

Portrait overhead image of zaatar chicken legs served with giant couscous, pomegranate seeds and roasted shallots served on a black plate

Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust & Giant Couscous.

It’s the end of Winter I think I am definitely ready to say that Persian/North African flavours have been my ‘new black’ for the period.

This zaatar chicken leg recipe with couscous plays with those flavours that have become fairly common this winter.

These flavours have given me a new set of ingredients to liven up the monotony of stew season.

Becasue of this pomegranate molasses has become my new food squeeze.

Sweet, sour and all sorts of comforting it is an ingredient that I use a lot of. It features in recipes as diverse as this Iranian Fesenjan recipe to these Lamb Kofta.

Here it is combined with zaatar, chili and dried mint to form a crust for the chicken legs.

Portrait image of zaatar chicken legs served with giant couscous, pomegranate seeds and roasted shallots served on a black plate

What is Zaatar?

Well, it’s just another of those spice blends like garam masala or ras el hanout.

It varies from blend to blend but usually contains toasted sesame seeds and sumac along with salt, thyme and oregano or marjoram.

It is used from everything to seasoning for grilled meats through to a dip for flatbreads just after you have dipped them into olive oil.

Trust me you gotta try that one!

Mixed with dried mint and pomegranate molasses it forms an almost chewy fragrant crust to these roast chicken legs.

Close up portrait image of zaatar chicken legs served with giant couscous, pomegranate seeds

What to Serve with Zaatar Chicken Legs?

As a result of cooking the chicken legs in this way you get lots of flavour being left in the pan.

Throwing away those flavours is a crime and because of this you need a flavour mop. I find giant couscous works perfectly.

Why giant couscous? Well mainly because regular couscous would become too claggy when mixed in the pan… I tried!

The side dish here is designed to soak up those flavours and complement them.

Giant couscous is the perfect ingredient in this instance, closely followed by bulgur wheat. You can read more about Giant, pearl or Israeli couscous in this pork chop recipe.

But whatever you do do not throw that stuff away, hell just dip bread in it if you must, it is awesome!

Square image of zaatar chicken legs served with giant couscous, pomegranate seeds and roasted shallots served on a black plate
Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust & Giant Couscous.

Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust & Giant Couscous.

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

The coating on this Zaatar Chicken leg recipe is the real star of the show the flavours of pomegranate molasses, mint and chili are the perfect blend!

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Mint
  • 2 Tbsp Zaaatar
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

For the Giant Couscous.

  • 150 g Israeli Couscous
  • 3 Shallots
  • 2 Spring onions
  • 30 g Walnuts
  • 10 g Parsley
  • 1 Small Pomegranate
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Rosewater

Instructions

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the chicken to form a thick paste and then slather over the chicken and set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Peel and cut the shallots in half.
  3. Cut the spring onions into 5mm lengths and roughly chop the walnuts and parsley.
  4. Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F.
  5. Now heat a frying pan that you can transfer to the oven over a medium high heat and when hot add the oil and fry the shallots on the cut side until you get a nice colour.
  6. Flip over the shallots and add the marinaded chicken before transferring to the oven a roasting for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 73°C or 165°F.
  7. Whilst the chicken is cooking cook the couscous as per the instructions on the packet, this should take 12-15 minutes. Try and time this so that it is ready a couple of minutes before your chicken is ready to come out of the oven.
  8. When the chicken is cooked remove it from the frying pan along with the onions and we will used the cooking juices as a coating for the couscous salad.
  9. So add the the couscous to the frying pan that the chicken was served in along with the rose water and stir to coat.
  10. Then add in the walnuts, pomegranate seeds, spring onions and parsley and combine.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

I like to separate my chicken thighs from the drumsticks and french trim the drummer. But it serves no purpose other than aesthetics and ease of eating.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1142 Total Fat: 57g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 41g Cholesterol: 329mg Sodium: 1479mg Carbohydrates: 87g Fiber: 11g Sugar: 47g Protein: 74g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

10 thoughts on “Roast Chicken Legs with a Zaatar Crust”

    • Try and dig some out, it id very different to regular cous cous, not better or worse just different and add much more substance to a side dish for me.

  1. I made giant couscous the other day for the first time in ages and remembered how much I loved it! The flavours in your couscous sound fab – love pomegranate.

    • Thanks Becca, I was horrified to discover my ‘dealer’ in giant cous cous is all out and has no plans to get more… Time to move on me thinks 😀

  2. Great recipe. I love the idea of adding the couscous to the pan to soak up the spices!

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