Zaatar & Sumac Roast Chicken


Hope you had a lovely Christmas lunch without a disastrous dry turkey or burning Brussels sprouts! However you spent your festive weekend, I hope you enjoyed the food that you cooked or was cooked for you.

This year I decided to experiment with a roast chicken! I love a good roast and there are so many ingredient to smother your meat with it is hard to have a favourite.  A good chicken roast with veg and salad is a sure way to bring all the family together, at any time of the year.  I decided to try a new marinade for my chicken. I got inspired by a famous Palestinian method, which is using Zaatar and Sumac. Hopefully I will do this delicious dish called Musakhan and blog it for you all


So what is Zaatar? It is a typical Middle Eastern spice mixture of dried Thyme (a variety that is found in the Middle East) mixed with dried Oregano and sesame seeds. It is heavily used in the Levant. It has a nice tangy earthy taste to it. It is eaten at any time , it’s best friend is olive oil, so mix them both to have a paste and spread over bread and enjoy!

Sumac is a red spice that comes from a flowing shrub, used heavily in Arabian and Persian cooking. Sprinkled over salads, Kabab and humous for example. It has a lemony zing flavour.


Okay lets get the chicken and start massaging these Middle Eastern spices. I am going to use lots of lemon because not only it gives chicken a great taste but it helps dissolve the chicken fat and take that fatty smell away along with the sumac.  I am going to stuff the chicken with red onion for flavour along with lemon and the spice mix. The key is to cut a few slots in the chicken  and massage the bird well with the spice mix. Then refrigerate over night or for few hours.


1 whole chicken, clean from inside

2 large table spoons Zaatar

2 large tablespoons of sumac

5 table spoons of olive oil

3 teaspoons of 7 spices

3 lemons

2 red onions



Step 1- Cut the red onions, garlic and lemon into slices

Step 2- place the chicken on a plate and smother it with seasoning, olive oil, lemon juice and then massage the spices and all the ingredient into the bird inside and outside.

Step 3- Cover the chicken in foil and refrigerate over night or for few hours.

Step 4- Place the chicken in the oven breast down on low heat for an hour then turn the chicken  and increase the heat till cooked. You can add a splash of water if the chicken is very dry, I find this help makes the meat slightly cook better.

Serve hot over a bed of roast vegetables or with rice and salad.


Can I apologise for the poor final photo ! My family and in-laws served it and cut it without allowing me to do my ‘Woofsy touch’ ….. it tasted very nice that all you need to know and that it is easy to cook…..




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