Characterized by a citrusy tang and deep red coloring, sumac spice is one of the most distinctive of its kind to herald from the Middle East. Despite being widely used in some parts of the world, it’s still yet to truly catch on in the US - meaning that many Americans are really missing out!
This fantastic flavor enhancer is one with a long and proud history that stretches back millennia, predating the emergence of the Roman empire in 27 BC. The earliest records of the spice appear in Greek medical texts which told of its effective use in combating infection.
However, the spice can bring out the very best in food that we talk about here today, with our delicious roast chicken recipe. You don’t have to be a lover of hot food to really appreciate this culinary masterpiece, as you’ll find out by making it yourself at home!
The Different Types of Sumac Spice
When looking for the spice in Middle Eastern markets, you’ll find a dazzling selection of different sumac varieties - up to as many as 150. They include Sicilian Sumac, Staghorn Sumac, Winged Sumac, and Sourberry Sumac, but in the Western world, there are two predominant types available.
Firstly, you have Fragrant Sumac (also known as Lemon Sumac), and secondly Smooth Sumac (also known as Scarlet Sumac). For this recipe, we’re going to be using the second, scarlet variety, which can be found among many other herbs and spices in the Little Istanbul Gifts shop.
So, to the recipe you’ve been waiting for...
This is a recipe that won’t test your culinary skills too much, meaning that it’s within the scope of beginner cooks! Your prep will only take around 20 minutes, with the total cooking time being just 2 hours. Also, this sumac spice recipe can be enjoyed by those with intolerances, as it’s both gluten-free and dairy-free.
Ideal as a mid-week main meal or as your weekly Sunday afternoon roast, this recipe offers an experience that transcends what’s offered by a standard gravy dinner. The flavors provided are far from boring, with a zingy, fresh taste that’ll make you look differently at what’s possible with the humble chicken.
The ingredients you’ll need...
- 1 uncooked chicken - preferably between 4 and 5 pounds
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil initially and then more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon of scarlett sumac spice
- 1 pinch of black pepper (finely ground)
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 4 grated garlic cloves
- 1 whole lemon cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves plus a little more for garnishing
Step One - Seasoning the Uncooked Chicken
We hope you’re ready to get your hands dirty because it’s time to season your chicken. So, you’ll be getting yourself a medium-sized bowl and adding 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with your thyme leaves, grated garlic, salt, and sumac spice.
Mix all of these ingredients in the bowl well until they’re properly blended and once you’re happy that that is the case, rub it all over the chicken, inside and out. If you can, try and get some of the mixtures under the skin too, as it will give you lots of great-tasting, crispy skin later.
After you’re sure that every part is covered, get your ground black pepper and apply a few turns over the chicken, before squeezing your four lemon pieces over the meat and then placing them inside the chicken. We’re going to be putting our chicken in straight away, but some prefer to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Either way is fine.
Step Two - Cooking the Seasoned Chicken
Now it’s time to add some heat into the equation, as you’ll be setting your oven to 475°F and placing one of your racks in the middle. Next, take a baking tray covered in foil and drizzle a little oil over it in preparation for your sumac spice chicken.
Before placing the chicken in to roast, we’re going to be spatchcocking it to make it cook more quickly. We’ll do that with a sharp knife which we use to cut through the skin that connects the legs to the body. Then splay open the thighs until you hear an audible ‘pop’ from the joint on each side.
This should then be transferred, with the breast-side up, onto the tray and have some weight pressed down onto it to flatten it out. Lastly, before leaving it to roast for 45-50 minutes, drizzle some more extra olive oil over it. Once cooked through, place it to the side to cool.
What to Enjoy Your Delicious Chicken With
The great thing about this wonderful, moist, and tender chicken is that it’s versatile, so you can enjoy this short recipe in several different ways. Of course, what many will want to do is try their sumac spice chicken as part of their Sunday dinner, but it’s delicious in other ways too.
Equally tasty is this chicken enjoyed with a green leaf salad or with some flavored rice and a spoonful of coleslaw. Such are the possibilities with a delectable recipe - that really doesn’t take long to put together - that anyone should consider including in their culinary repertoire.
One of Many Beautiful Tastes From Little Istanbul Gifts
Sumac spice offers a taste that is without compare, and it’s one that you simply have to try at some point in your life. What’s more, it’s only a single item among a whole array of exotic spices that you can use to add some vibrancy to your cooking.
Head over to the Little Istanbul Gifts shop, and you’ll find a wonderful range of tastes and flavors from all around the world to add a new dimension to your food. Thanks for reading. That’s it from us for this time, but we’ll be back again before you know it.