The coating on this Za’atar Chicken dish is the real star of the show the flavours of pomegranate molasses, mint and chili really are sublime!
As we have definitely come to the end of Winter I think I am definitely ready to say that Persian and North African flavours have been my ‘new black’ for the period. This za’atar chicken leg dish with cous cous is yet another riff on that idea.
These flavours have given me a new series of ingredients to bust the monotony of stew season. Of course there is nothing wrong with a good stew, chili or curry, I love them but strings and bows are important for me as a cook. Playing with pomegranate, sumac and as per this dish za’atar has added new flavours to a time of year where my cooking is typically in my ‘comfort zone’.
So ok, we have za’atar chicken but what exactly is za’atar?
Well it’s just another of those spice blends typified by principally toasted sesame seeds and sumac along with salt, thyme and oregano or marjoram and is used from everything to a 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! In this recipe it is mixed with dried mint and pomegranate molasses to form an almost chewy fragrant crust to a simply cooked chicken leg. Aftter the za’atar chicken legs are cooked you end up with a load of glorious flavours in the pan so the giant cous cous comes to the rescue here.
The whole side element is put together to soak up those flavours and complement them. What ever you do do not throw that stuff away, hell just dip bread in it if you must, it is awesome!
Za'atar Chicken Legs with Giant Cous Cous
For the Chicken:
- 2 Chicken Legs Separated into thighs and drumsticks, skin removed
- 2 Tbsp Dried Mint
- 2 Tbsp Za'atar
- 1 Tbsp Dried Chili Flakes
- 1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
- 3 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
For the Giant Cous Cous.
- 150 g Israeli Cous Cous Also known as giant cous cous
- 3 Shallots Peeled and cut in half
- 2 Spring onions Cut into 5mm lengths
- 30 g Walntus Roughly chopped
- 10 g Parsley Fresh
- 1 Pomegranate Seeds only
- 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil Neutral
- 1 Tbsp Rosewater
- 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.
- Preheat your oven to 200°c.
- 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.
- 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 74°C.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking cook the cous cous 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.
- 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 cous cous salad.
- So add the the cous cous to the frying pan that the chicken was served in along with the rose water and stir to coat.
- Then add in the walnuts, pomegranate, spring onions and parsley and combine.
- Serve and enjoy!