Chicken with Za’atar and Sumac by Yotam Ottolenghi


This week I’m sharing a classic recipe from one of my favourite London chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi: roast chicken with za’atar, sumac and lemon.

Roasted Chicken with Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon - recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

The recipe is from his first, best-selling cookbook, Ottolenghi, which was first published in 2008. It features all the best recipes from the restaurant, like this roasted chicken dish.

I tasted the chicken for the first time last week, not at the restaurant, but at my friend Nuvola’s house. A few days later I tested the recipe myself and here’s the result.

The chicken is marinated first with spices and lemon to cut through all the different flavours. It’s then roasted and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and parsley. This recipes is easy to make, quick and it looks pretty, so it’s great for when you have friends coming over for lunch/dinner and you don’t want to spend too much time cooking. Your guests will be impressed!

Roasted Chicken with Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon - recipe by Yotam OttolenghiRoasted Chicken with Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon - recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

I served the chicken with roasted potates and a glass of Tuscan Chiarofiore 2012, a natural wine made of 70% Trebbiano grapes and 30% Vermentino grapes. Chiarofiore is a wine with a peculiar colour, orange, as it is made with white grapes fermented on the skins as if it were a red. The final result is a wine with a strong yellow-gold colour and rosy tinges.

Chiarofiore wine 2012, Tuscany

You can buy this wine and more Tuscan products online at Riserve del Gusto, an online shop selling old-time gastronomical tastes of the traditions of Arezzo and its four valleys.

Chiarofiore wine 2012, Tuscany

The plate and wine glass featured in these photos are by Jesper Conran for Wedgwood.


  • 1 large chicken, divided into quarters
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 4 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper


In a large bowl, mix the chicken with the onions, garlic, olive oil, spices, lemon, stock, salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking tray large enough to accommodate all the chicken pieces lying flat and spaced apart (skin-side up).

Roasted Chicken with Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon - recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

Sprinkle the za’atar over the chicken and put the tray in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the pine nuts and a pinch of salt and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until they turn golden. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the fat.

Transfer the hot chicken and onions to a serving plate and finish with the chopped parsley and pine nuts.

Roasted Chicken with Za'atar, Sumac and Lemon - recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi

Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted the wine, plate and wine glass featured in this recipe. All opinions are my own.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Claudia Brick 19/12/2015 at 07:00

    Just like everything Ottolenghi comes up with, this marinade looks utterly gorgeous! So many flavours going on, I love all the spices and the finish with fresh herbs and pinenuts. Beautiful photos too – I will be back here for the recipe, I am sure of it! <3

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