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Lebanese Roast Chicken with Chickpeas, Hazelnuts, & Sumac
Over Rice with Yogurt
I love this exotic mix of Lebanese spices and flavors with some Turkish and Israeli influences. Lebanese cuisine includes copious amounts of garlic, olive oil and lemon. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. Frequently used in Turkish cuisine are lentils and nuts…in this case featuring chickpeas and hazelnuts.
Who doesn’t love roast chicken? You could make this dish with a whole chicken or with whole chicken legs as I have described here. I love the crackly, crisp salty skin and moist tender meat. But, most of the time, I don’t like roast chicken because most of the time, well, you end up with dry breast meat in order to cook the leg meat adequately. It also makes a mess of my oven. Lately if desiring a whole roasted or grilled chicken, I have been butterflying the chicken in order to achieve the 150-degree F for the breast simultaneously with the 170-degree legs. It is relatively simple to butterfly the chicken by cutting out the spine and flattening the carcass. I promise to share pictures of how to do this in the near future, but today, we use whole chicken legs.
One spectacular exception to a whole roast chicken is when the recipe calls for stuffing. Obviously, butterflying the bird will not work. See Roast Chicken with Ricotta Stuffing, Marsala Sauce served on toast…..check it out: http://cookingwithlarue.blogspot.com/2014/12/roast-chicken-with-ricotta-stuffing.html
- 2 Tb plus 1 tsp ground coriander
- 4 tsp sumac, divided
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 4 whole (thigh & drumstick) chicken legs OR 1 whole chicken (4-4½ lbs), lumps of fat removed & butterflied
- 2 - 3 lemons, (2 sliced, 1 quartered)
- 1 Tb butter
- ¼ C each golden raisins and dried currants
- 1 can (14.5 oz) chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed
- 3 Tb chopped fresh parsley
- ½ C coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts
- Hot long-grain rice white rice, cooked with a little dried mint
- Plain whole-milk yogurt seasoned with salt and dried mint
Combine 2 Tb coriander, 2 tsp sumac, the cumin, pepper and 1 tsp salt. Rub chicken with 1½ Tb olive oil, then all over with spice mixture. If using a whole chicken, include inside and outside of chicken. Let seasoning marinate the chicken all day, or overnight if you can. If unable, just proceed with cooking.
For chicken legs: Heat oven to 450 degree F. Slice 2 lemons into thick 1/3“ slices and place on bottom of foil lined roasting pan. Put chicken legs on top and arrange quartered lemons around. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil and put into warmed oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil, and roast uncovered for an additional 30-40 minutes until meat thermometer inserted near joint registers 170 degrees.
For whole roasted chicken: Heat oven to 500 degree F. Set lemon slices on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Add butterflied chicken to top of lemon slices positioned so that breasts are aligned with the center of the baking sheet and legs are close to edge. Roast until thickest part of breast close to bone registers 150 degrees and joint between thighs and body registers at least 170 degrees, about 45-50 minutes, reducing the heat to 450 degree F if the chicken starts to darken too quickly.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1½ Tb oil and the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add raisins, currants, 1½ tsp sumac, and remaining coriander and salt. Cook, stirring, until puffy and sizzling, 2-3 minutes. Stir in a splash of water, the chickpeas, and parsley and cook until hot. Lastly stir in hazelnuts.
Spread rice on a serving dish. Arrange chickpea mixture over rice, and then set chicken on top. Serve with yogurt, the roasted lemon quarters and more sumac to add to taste.
We had this recently with a wonderful Oregon Pinot Noir. Give a try. You will not be disappointed.
Credit and inspiration to Troya in San Francisco, a Turkish-Mediterranean eatery in the Fillmore district