Our Family's Favorite Dinner
At least once a week, we are all very happy with what's on our dinner table. The meal feels elaborate but really was not too much work. Lots of options and colors, and we actually leave the table feeling full. It's Zataar Chicken Night! The zaatar chicken and rice are really good, but it's mostly all of the accompaniments that makes the meal so satisfying. There are so many options for what you can put out with this Middle Eastern meal: pickles or chutneys, hummus and tahini sauce, feta cheese and fresh herbs, any kind of simple vegetable, dolmas, babaganoush... My favorite is a simple herbal green salad.
This time the extras were hummus, tahini sauce, carrot-ginger pickle, and red cabbage saurkraut with dill seeds.
To make Zataar Chicken:
In a medium-sized pot, pile onions cut into thin wedges, frozen boneless chicken pieces (I use thighs,) a good chunk of butter, lots of lemon juice or sliced preserved lemons, zataar spice mixture (available at World Market or Middle Eastern grocers-- probably La Habra Ranch Market) and some water or chicken stock to keep it from going dry. Simmer on medium- low heat for 1/2 an hour or longer until the meat is easily shredded, then season with more salt, if needed.
OK, so the actual chicken dish is not very photogenic-- that is a big reason for the colorful sides!
I usually serve it with rice or quinoa to which I have added a spoonful of bacon grease, cubes of cilantro that you buy at TJ's and a squeeze of lemon-- while it's cooking. And of course you can't go wrong with steamed greens drizzled with tahini sauce.
I enjoy making homemade pickles and preserves and usually use formulas from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. I also recently made quick radish pickles from this recipe. Amelia loves them, and even likes to drink the juice out of the dish when they're gone!
What about you? What is your family happy to eat again and again?