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EVERY RECIPE FROM THE FIRST 4 SEASONS

In Palestine, tangy sumac lightens richly seasoned chicken thighs
Milk Street Bowtie Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan)

Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan)

1¼ hours

Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan)

Free

Deep-red ground sumac is the star of this dish. Its tart, citrusy flavor is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the sautéed onion and the rich pine nuts. Look for sumac in well-stocked grocery stores, spice shops and Middle Eastern markets; it can also be ordered online.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons ground sumac, divided
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3 cups water
4 8-inch pita bread rounds
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Tahini, to serve
Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • ½

    cup toasted pine nuts, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 4

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 4

    tablespoons ground sumac, divided

  • 2

    teaspoons sweet paprika

  • 3

    cups water

  • 4

    8-inch pita bread rounds

  • ½

    cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

  • Tahini, to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until just smoking. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken. Set the chicken aside.
    See Demo
    Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) Step 1
  2. 02
    Chop ¼ cup of the pine nuts and set aside. With the pot over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chopped pine nuts, 3 tablespoons of the sumac and paprika. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and any juices to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
    See Demo
    Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) Step 2
  3. 03
    Heat the oven to 450ºF with a rack in the middle position. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Bring the liquid in the pot to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the remaining ¼ cup whole pine nuts. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
    See Demo
    Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) Step 3
  4. 04
    Brush the pita on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and arrange the rounds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until heated through and softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sumac, then cut each round in half and transfer to a platter. Stir the parsley into the chicken and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the chicken with the pita and tahini for drizzling.
    See Demo
    Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan) Step 4
Tip: Don’t skip the tahini for drizzling at the table. Its nutty flavor and richness perfectly complement the chicken. And since tahini separates on standing, don't forget to stir it well before serving.
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Comments
  • Sherry F.

    Made this for dinner last night with the last of my pine nut stash. To my surprise, my dad loved it! It took forever to reduce the 3 cups of water at the end. I think I'll do less water next time. Also, I'm going to have to find a pine nut alternative to use next time. Pine nuts are out of season here and I only use local pine nuts to avoid the metallic taste you get from Chinese pine nuts from the grocery stores.

    0 votes
    1 comments
    • Michele R.

      Agree with Sherry F re the need to use really good pine nuts here and not the mass markets ones sold everywhere from major grocery stores to natural food CoOps, almost all of which are processed in China. Having had "pine nut mouth" once myself that lasted about 3 weeks, I too am very careful about sourcing. Check the packages or ask your grocer (even the ones sold in bulk at the top dollar well known whole food store come in via China and although not always labeled they will tell you that is so if you ask). Lucky people like Sherry F to have access to locally grown and processed pine nuts! I purchase most of the time from an American of Lebanese heritage who imports Turkish grown pine nuts via Lebanon. Quality pine nuts makesall the difference.

      0 votes
      0 comments
Down arrow

Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan)

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1¼ hours

Tip

Don’t skip the tahini for drizzling at the table. Its nutty flavor and richness perfectly complement the chicken. And since tahini separates on standing, don't forget to stir it well before serving.

Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 6

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • ½

    cup toasted pine nuts, divided

  • 1

    large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 4

    garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 4

    tablespoons ground sumac, divided

  • 2

    teaspoons sweet paprika

  • 3

    cups water

  • 4

    8-inch pita bread rounds

  • ½

    cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

  • Tahini, to serve

Step 1 of 4

Begin to cook the chicken

2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until just smoking.


Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken. Set the chicken aside.

Step 2 of 4

Cook the aromatics and simmer

¼
cup toasted pine nuts
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3
tablespoons ground sumac
2
teaspoons sweet paprika
3
cups water

Chop ¼ cup of the pine nuts and set aside. With the pot over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened slightly, about 5 minutes.


Add the garlic, chopped pine nuts, 3 tablespoons of the sumac and paprika. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the water, stir to combine and bring to a simmer.


Return the chicken and any juices to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Shred the chicken

¼
cup toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450ºF with a rack in the middle position. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-size pieces.


Bring the liquid in the pot to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in the remaining ¼ cup whole pine nuts. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Step 4 of 4

Finish cooking and serve

4
8-inch pita bread rounds
2
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1
tablespoon ground sumac
½
cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Tahini, to serve

Brush the pita on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and arrange the rounds on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until heated through and softened, 5 to 7 minutes.


Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sumac, then cut each round in half and transfer to a platter. Stir the parsley into the chicken and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the chicken with the pita and tahini for drizzling.

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Sumac-Spiced Chicken (Musakhan)

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