Roast Chicken with Za’atar and Sumac

The essence of home cooking is asking ‘What do you want for dinner?’, and then everyone shrugs and says ‘I dunno’ or occasionally ‘Burritos’. So you head to the supermarket with no list, hoping that whatever they have on sale will inspire your next meal. I mean, I don’t know, maybe that’s just me, and everyone reading this is an expert weeknight meal planner, but I have a hunch that I’m not the only one.

In any case, as long as it’s not summer, and too hot for roasting, a whole chicken is a very respectable answer to the perpetual question of dinner. It’s fairly low effort, it’s almost always tasty, and you can go nuts with whatever seasonings strike your fancy. Look, you have to make your own fun, since it’s clear no one else in this family has any original dinner ideas.

Like a lot of my last-minute dinner ideas, this is a combo of two recipes, one — No-Fail Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic from Bon Appétit — for the method, and one — Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za-atar, and Lemon via The Splendid Table — for the flavor profile. And then you make adjustments based on what ingredients you have on hand, and your own experience and personal preference. For example, I trussed the chicken rather than slicing it open at the legs (because why would you do that?), and I used shallots rather than red onions, and I used a mixture of butter and olive oil. Oh, and I just tossed the spices on there without measuring them. Easy, delicious, and now you don’t have to worry about dinner again, until tomorrow night.

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