Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Roast Lemon Chicken with Red Onions

The days are getting shorter and darker. Sometimes it's nice to be able to put together a dinner without needing to stop at the grocery store with a long list of ingredients. This is a just a simple wintery chicken dish that juxtaposes the fresh sharp flavors of juicy lemons and bright red onions with deeper Middle Eastern flavors, including sumac, nutmeg and cinnamon. If you haven't yet, sumac is a spice that I highly recommend you add to your spice drawer. Sumac is a fruity spice that is made from dried reddish-purplish berries that grow wildly through the Middle East and in parts of Italy. It is available at many supermarkets or online at:
Sumac is a great spice to add to fish, chicken and vegetable dishes. It is not sweet, nor spicy...Rather, it has a deep, rich flavor, almost like adding some red wine to the dish, without actually adding the red wine.
The chicken recipe below can be prepared a day or two in advance and marinated in the fridge. Or, if you are short on time, just throw it all together and bake on the day of. It is simple to make, but spectacular tasting. Use any cuts of chicken that you like best (including skinless and boneless), and you can even throw in a handful or two of sliced potatoes before cooking if you want to make it a one-pot meal.

Roast Chicken with Lemons and Red Onions
Serves 4

1 chicken, cut into 8th or 8 pieces of chicken, as you like it
1 large red onion, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons
1 tablespoon sumac
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup water

Place the chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag. Drizzle the oil over and squeeze the lemons over. Do not discard the lemons. Slice the squeezed lemons into thin slices and add them into the bag. Add all the remaining ingredients, and use your hands to combine all together. Seal the bag, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Preheat the oven 375. Transfer the chicken, and all lemonds, onions and sauce into a roasting pan or a baking dish. Roast in the oven, uncovered until cooked through and golden. Cooking time wil vary based of what cuts of chicken you are using. For boneless, skinless chicken breast, allow about 40 minutes. For bone in chicken, allow at least 1 hour and 20 minutes. The chicken will be ready when the onions are crispy looking and the lemons are browned.

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