Chicken Musakhan

Over here, we’re still loving cooking our way through Falastin, January’s selection for the Kitchn’s Cookbook Club. So far we’ve made Lemon Chickpea Salad (Balilah), Saffron Butternut Squash Soup, and a few others that we didn’t share on here (yet). We love Middle Eastern food at baseline, and this cookbook has been a real treat. I’ve wanted to make chicken musakhan for a long time and finally had the catalyst to do so! And I’m really glad that we did – it is amazing! No wonder it’s the “national dish” of Palestine! Sumac is clearly the dominate flavor and is so beautiful. We ate this meal just the two of us and made a valiant effort to finish the whole thing, though we didn’t exactly succeed. This would be a perfect meal to share with family or friends, though maybe not the most COVID-friendly dish for these times.

Chicken Musakhan

(Adapted from Falastin, by Sami Tamimi & Tara Wrigley)
Ingredients: 
  • 2-2 1/2 lb of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (we used leg quarters)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp sumac, divided
  • 3 tsp cumin, divided
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 taboon breads (sub naan or other flatbread)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Lemon, for serving if desired
  • Yogurt, for serving if desired
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp suman, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, allspice, 1 tsp salt, and 5 grinds of fresh black pepper, and then pour over the chicken. Mix well so all of the chicken pieces are coated.
  3. Place chicken pieces on a wire rack set in a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes (will depend on what type of pieces you used). Chicken is done at an internal temperature of 165 degree. The skin should be crispy.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish. Place 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. When hot, add the pine nuts. Toast for just 2-3 minutes, shaking and stirring frequently, until the pine nuts are browned. Remove the nuts to the side, reserving the oil, and place on a paper towel-lined bowl or plate to absorb the excess oil.
  5. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions, followed by 1/2 tsp salt, 10 grinds of black pepper, 2 tbsp sumac, and 2 tsp cumin. Stir to combine well. Cook the onions for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft, but not yet caramelized.
  6. When all of the components are cooked, place the flatbread in the oven to warm for a few minutes. Then place the flatbread on a platter. Top the flatbread with ~1/2 of the onions, followed by the chicken, then the rest of the onions. Sprinkle the pine nuts over top and some fresh, roughly torn parsley.
  7. Pull apart bites with your fingers. Squeeze lemon overtop and/or add a dollop of yogurt as desired.
Serves 4-6

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