The chicken can be replaced with thick slices of roasted aubergine or chunky cauliflower florets – or a mixture of both – for a vegetarian alternative. If you do this, toss the slices or florets in the oil and spices, as for the chicken, and roast at 200°C fan bake for about 25 minutes for cauliflower and about 35 minutes for aubergine.
1 chicken (about 1.7kg) divided into 4 pieces or 1kg of chicken breasts with skin on (4-6, depending on size) if you prefer.
120ml olive oil, plus 2–3 tbsp extra, to finish
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp sumac
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
30g pine nuts
3 large red onions, thinly sliced 2–3mm thick (500g)
4 flatbreads, such as Arabic flatbread or naan bread, (330g)
5g parsley leaves
Roughly ground salt and black pepper
300g Greek-style yoghurt
1 lemon, quartered
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan bake.
2. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons of sumac, the cinnamon, allspice, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well to combine, then spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray. Roast until the chicken is cooked through. This will take about 30 minutes if starting with chicken breasts and up to 45 minutes if starting with the whole chicken, quartered. Remove from the oven and set aside. Don’t discard any juices which have collected in the tray.
3. Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large sauté pan (about 24cm), and place on a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for about 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the nuts are golden brown. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper (leaving the oil behind in the pan) and set aside. Add the remaining 60ml of oil to the pan, along with the onions and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Return to a medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions are completely soft and pale golden but not caramelised.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of sumac, the remaining 2 teaspoons of cumin and a grind of black pepper and mix through, until the onions are completely coated. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. When ready to assemble the dish, set the oven to a grill setting and slice or tear the bread into quarters or sixths. Place them under the grill for about 2–3 minutes, to crisp up, then arrange them on a large platter. Top the bread with half the onions, followed by all the chicken and any chicken juices left in the tray.
Either keep each piece of chicken as it is or else roughly shred it as you plate up, into two or three large chunks. Spoon the remaining onions over the top and sprinkle with the pine nuts, parsley, 1 ½ teaspoons of sumac and a final drizzle of olive oil.
Serve at once, with the yoghurt and a wedge of lemon alongside.
FALASTIN is a love letter to Palestine, the land and its people; an evocative collection of over 110 unforgettable recipes and stories from the co-authors of Jerusalem, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Ottolenghi SIMPLE.
Recipe extracts: FALASTIN, RRP$60 from selected bookstores nationwide.
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 49 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW