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Chicken flavored with bright and citrusy sumac served along side a warm artisan bread salad.
Have You Tried Sumac?
I bet you haven’t! I didn’t either until just recently.
The only sumac I knew about was those weedy trees that grow by railroad tracks. Recently I took an online course about culinary herbs and spices and this is where I learned about sumac. The chef who taught this course said that sumac is used widely in north Africa and Middle Eastern countries. I love to try new things, so I bought some.
The flavor is tart and citrusy so it’s perfect for chicken. Wherever you’d use lemon, try substituting sumac.
If you find sumac impossible to find (you can purchase it through the link in the footer for Gourmet Foods), then use a marinade made of 3 tbs lemon juice, 2 tbs oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Let the chicken sit in this for 1 hour turning the chicken halfway through.
Croutons On Steriods
If you love croutons in salad, how about a salad where the main ingredient is croutons? This warm salad resembles panzarella because the bread dominates.
In this bread salad, you make your own out of Artisan bread and they toast right in the same pan the chicken is cooked in. The savory flavor of onions and parsley cook right into them. Make sure to use a high-grade extra-virgin olive oil so the bread picks up it’s fantastic flavor.
There’s nothing complicated about the chicken in this recipe.
The coating consists of olive oil, sumac, salt and pepper, so the preparation is really a rub. You smear the sumac and olive oil over the chicken and let the chicken marinate for about 8 hours (if you can). Otherwise, just leave it sitting while you prepare the the bread mixture.
The difference with this rub/marinade is that the chicken is left uncovered.
Additions Tie Everything Together
The surprise here is how two simple ingredients tie this whole meal together.
Cucumbers and diced tomatoes add that little pop of color and crunch that completes the meal. Use a cucumber that isn’t waxed so you get the vibrant color of the skin. Either kirby (pickling) cucumbers or European are the best choice.
As for the tomatoes, home-grown ones are the absolute bomb, so use your tag end of your harvest in this, however, cherry, grape or on-the-vine tomatoes you buy at the store are also tasty choices.
Moroccan (Sumac) Chicken & Warm Bread Salad
- 1 whole chicken cut up -OR- equivalent number of chicken parts
- 6 tbs olive oil divided
- 2 tbs sumac
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 12 oz Artisan bread cut in cubes
- 3-4 kirby cucumbers cut in 1/4-inch slices and quartered
- 2 large tomatoes seeded and diced large
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Mix the sumac and 2 tbs olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the mixture over the chicken and place the chicken on a platter in a single layer. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tbs of the olive oil and saute the onion until it is tender but not browned.
- Add the garlic and parsley and cook for about 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the sauteed onion, parsley and garlic; toss to coat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large baking dish (13 x 9) with the remaining 1 tbs olive oil.
- Place the bread mixture in the pan so the bread is a single layer.
- Place chicken on top and bake for 60 minutes, or juices run clear.
- Remove chicken to a platter and keep warm.
- Place the bread in a bowl and add the cucumber, tomato and the lemon juice; toss to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. More lemon juice may be added if you desire a tarter salad.