Weeknight Cooking

Dinner Tonight: Spiced Roast Chicken with Za'atar Yogurt

Today: Head to the spice aisle—you've got chicken to make.

Za'atar will change your life. It's not one of those spices you buy for one recipe and then it sits (and sits) collecting dust on your spice rack. Sprinkle the Middle Eastern powerhouse over homemade labneh, mix it into tabouli, and make Spiced Roast Chicken with Za'atar Yogurt coated in a slew of spices. It's the kind of dinner that comes together quickly—even faster if you marinate the chicken the night before—and whose leftovers are happy stuffed into a pita the next day. The dish is low effort and high reward: our kind of weeknight dinner.

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Grocery List 

(Organized by area of the market) 

Serves 2, generously 

1 red onion, halved and finely sliced
2 scallions, chopped, to serve
1 handful cilantro, chopped, to serve
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons za'atar
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt 
2 chicken leg quarters, divided into thighs and drumsticks

We're assuming you already have salt, olive oil, and water. If not, add those to your list, too!

Overview:  About two hours before dinner (or, even better, the night before), smash the coriander and cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle or with the flat side of a chef's knife. Combine the chicken, spices, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of water, and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl and mix well. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Meanwhile, grab a seat, break out a snack (maybe some chickpea crackers with za'atar?), and relax. 

An hour before dinner, preheat your oven to 375° F.  Spread the onions on a roasting pan and place the chicken on top, skin-side up. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes.  

While the chicken's roasting, mix together the yogurt, za'atar, and a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with chopped scallions and cilantro and serve sauce alongside in generous amounts. 

Photo by James Ransom 

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