Zaatar Chicken with Mint Yogurt Sauce

April 21, 2022

Zaatar is a blend of spices and herbs commonly used in eastern Mediterranean cuisine. It is easy to make at home and versatile. Use to season chicken or fish or stir it into yogurt to make a quick and easy dip for pitas or veggies. The main ingredient is Sumac which has a fresh, lemony flavor. 

Zaatar Chicken Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat or 
  • 1 whole chicken, backbone and wishbone removed 
  • 1 tablespoon Zaatar spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, peeled, halved and thickly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Zaatar Spice Blend Ingredients
Basic ingredients are sumac, thyme and toasted sesame seeds; oregano is used here. Make as much as you need, just keep the ratios the same. You decide what is a “part,” —tablespoons, teaspoons or cups. Combine ingredients in a jar and shake. Or pulse ingredients in a food processor. Store in cool, dry place.

  • 1 part thyme
  • 1 part sumac
  • 1 part toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 part oregano
  • 1/2 part kosher salt

Mint Yogurt Ingredients

  • 1 part thyme
  • 1 part sumac
  • 1 part toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 part oregano
  • 1/2 part kosher salt

Directions for Mint Yogurt Sauce Makes 1 cup

Make sauce up to a day ahead; keep refrigerated. Use it for chicken or fish or as vegetable or pita bread dip. Combine ingredients well. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. The longer it sits, the better the flavour.

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Zaatar spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

Directions Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Combine 1 tablespoon Zaatar spice blend with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place chicken thighs in hot pan, skin-side down, and sear until skin is crispy and browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and sear 3 more minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken, skin-side up, to plate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour off excess fat from pan and add red onions. Return chicken to pan and arrange on top of onions. Brush chicken with Zaatar oil. If using a whole chicken, place chicken in roasting pan on bed of sliced red onions and brush with the Zaatar oil. Place the skillet or roasting pan in oven and roast until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175°F for thighs, 165°F for breasts, about 20 minutes for thighs, 60 minutes for a whole chicken. Sprinkle with fresh parsley to garnish. Serve with mint yogurt sauce and roasted onions.