Middle Eastern Herb & Garlic Chicken

This is a fabulous recipe from Melissa Clark of the NYT.  I had it at a friend’s house for dinner the other night.  I love chicken thigh recipes — they are so delicious (and economical).

This recipe was inspired by the Middle Eastern dried seasoning mix called za’atar, a combination of herbs (usually thyme, oregano and marjoram), sesame seeds and sumac, often spiked with salt. Here, fresh herbs are substituted for the dried, which, along with fresh parsley and mint and plenty of lemon and garlic, are used to marinated boneless chicken thighs.


 

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 40 minutes, plus 8 hours’ marinating

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or marjoram
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, more for garnish (optional)
  • ¾ teaspoon sumac, more for garnish (optional…if you can’t find, skip it)
  • ⅔ cup plain Greek yogurt, preferably whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Combine chicken with all but 1 teaspoon of the grated garlic (save that teaspoon for the yogurt sauce), the zest and juice of 1 lemon, oil, parsley, mint, thyme, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the sesame seeds and sumac, if using. Cover and marinate for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature; you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.

2.  Heat grill or broiler. If grilling, cook chicken over high heat until charred in spots, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip pieces and continue grilling until just cooked through, another 4 to 7 minutes. If broiling, arrange a rack 3 to 4 inches from flame. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spread chicken out in a single layer. Broil chicken, turning halfway through cooking, until well colored and charred in spots, 4 to 7 minutes per side. Be careful that it doesn’t burn.

3.  While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Stir in the reserved grated garlic and lemon zest and season to taste with salt. Serve the chicken drizzled with olive oil, remaining lemon juice to taste, black pepper, parsley and sesame seeds and sumac, if using, with the yogurt alongside for dipping.

 

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