One-Pot Wonders

Tahini-Rubbed Chicken With Chickpeas & Dates

April  6, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
Author Notes

Even if you’ve roasted chicken every which way to Sunday, this ridiculously easy, boldly flavored one-skillet dinner deserves your attention. As it roasts, the tahini marinade cooks down into a sticky, savory, rich pan sauce. And because you’re layering all of the ingredients in a skillet, you’re left with distinct flavors and textures: on the bottom, meltingly tender sweet-and-sour onions and saucy chickpeas, and on the top, caramelized dates, tangy lemon slices, and bronzed chicken. Serve with a big handful of fresh herbs, tahini yogurt, and warm flatbread for swiping up every last ounce of the sauce.

A few notes and tips: Pretty much everything about this dish is customizable, down to the skillet itself. If you don’t have a large ovenproof skillet, feel free to layer the ingredients in a baking dish instead. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit the chicken in a single layer. I usually reach for leg quarters here, but any type of bone-in, skin-on cut will work nicely. Or, opt for a spatchcocked chicken instead, and increase the roasting time accordingly.

While I love this combination of Middle Eastern-inspired flavors and ingredients, you can take this one-skillet meal in countless directions. Just keep some sort of thick, sticky rub or marinade in the equation so as your dinner roasts, you’ll get a ready-made pan sauce.

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 40 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • For tahini-rubbed chicken
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, well stirred
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters (about 3) or thighs (about 5)
  • Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • For rest of dish
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons hot water (either from tap or heated)
  • 1/2 large lemon, very thinly sliced and cut into half moons (seeds removed); save other half for juicing
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt plus red chile flakes, to taste
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tahini, well stirred
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro or dill (optional)
  • 4 pieces warmed flatbread, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. For the tahini-rubbed chicken: In a small bowl, mix together tahini, olive oil, honey, cumin, and paprika until smooth and well integrated.
  3. Blot chicken dry with paper towels. Rub tahini marinade all over chicken and under the skin. Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. (Make-ahead tip: the marinated chicken can be refrigerated up to 8 hours in advance.)
  4. In a small bowl, stir together honey and hot water until dissolved. Soak lemon slices until ready to use (this step softens the lemons and ensures they get nicely caramelized).
  5. In a 12- or 14-inch ovenproof skillet, add sliced onions, half of lemon slices (drained of their soaking water), and chickpeas. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top, and season with a few pinches of kosher salt and red chile flakes. Arrange chicken on top, and nestle remaining lemon slices around (not on top of) the chicken.
  6. Roast chicken for 20 minutes. Remove skillet from the oven, and nestle dates around the chicken. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the chicken is 165°F in the thickest parts. Optional: Run the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp-up the chicken skin (don’t walk away; the chicken will brown quickly!). Out of the oven, lift up the chicken and stir the cilantro or dill (if using) into the saucy onions and chickpeas.
  7. Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt, tahini, a pinch or two of salt, and several squeezes of lemon juice.
  8. Serve warm chicken (cut-up or left whole) and dates with the saucy chickpeas and onions, with yogurt sauce and flatbread on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lauren Diomampo
    Lauren Diomampo
  • EmilyC
  • Jessamin
  • Purple kiwi
    Purple kiwi

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

6 Reviews

Lauren D. April 6, 2021
My favorite flavors to cook with and the dish came together beautifully. I will double the chickpeas next time and maybe serve alongside something fresh like a salad.
Author Comment
EmilyC April 7, 2021
Wonderful -- so happy you tried and liked this, Lauren! Thanks for your note!
Jessamin March 21, 2021
I am slowly starting to catch on that this author's recipes are always on point. This was fantastic! I would never have thought to use tahini in this way, and I also appreciated learning the honey-water trick for caramelizing lemons. I served this with flatbread and the arugula date salad from Adeena Sussman's Sababa, it all went together perfectly. This is great for a Sunday dinner that feels special but doesn't take ages.
Author Comment
EmilyC March 22, 2021
What a lovely note to receive! Thank you, Jessamin. So glad you liked this. I also have Sababa so will look up that salad as a pairing to this dish!
Purple K. March 8, 2021
Lovely dish. Easy to follow and packed full of flavour. Definitely will have again.
Author Comment
EmilyC March 8, 2021
So happy you tried and liked it -- thank you for your note!