Sumac chicken

This easy chicken recipe is flavoured with sumac, lemon, pomegranate molasses and garlic
Sumac chicken
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 3 lemons
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, or thighs
  • 3 tbsp sumac
  • olive oil, for roasting
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • pomegranate molasses, to serve

Tips and Suggestions

Sumac is a spice derived from the dried ground berries of a bush that grows throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Sumac has a tangy and aromatic flavour and you can use it as you would ground pepper.


1. Preheat your oven to the highest temperature it will go. Cut 1 lemon in thin slices and squeeze the others for their juice. Crack the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Mix the chicken legs with a big splash of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sumac, the peppercorns, a generous splash of olive oil, and about 2 teaspoons salt flakes.

2. Place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown.

3. Slice the top off the garlic bulb and place it in the middle of some foil. Pour some olive oil over the top and fold the aluminium foil around the bulb. Lower the temperature of the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Arrange the slices of lemon over the chicken. Add the wrapped garlic bulb to the baking sheet with the chicken, and return it to the oven for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and very tender.

4. Remove the garlic from the foil, let it cool, and pop the soft garlic gloves from their skin. Sprinkle the chicken legs with the remaining sumac, drizzle with pomegranate molasses, and let it rest in the oven, it should be turned off, but it will still be warm.

5. With a hand blender or with the mortar and pestle, puree the roasted garlic with a dash of lemon juice, a dash of cold water, and some salt to taste; blend into a thick, smooth sauce. Serve the chicken with pomegranate molasses and the garlic sauce.

Under the Shade of Olive Trees by By Merijn Tol and Nadia Zerouali, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang

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