Vinegar Chicken with Crisp Roasted Mushrooms

It’s all about the sauce for me, and it’s all about the sauce in this dish. I try to adapt most skin-on chicken recipes to use my go-to protein, boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, but the skin is essential in this preparation.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Alison Roman. I used red wine vinegar and stock in the sauce and also added garlic. We ate it with a giant green salad instead of the lemon-dressed lettuce in the original recipe but I included the gem lettuce option below.

I served this tangy chicken and roasted mushrooms with crusty sourdough baguette (to soak up the sauce), roasted potatoes, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. Amazing!

Yield: 6 servings

For the Chicken:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken (use any combination of legs, thighs or drumsticks, or breasts halved crosswise)(I used 8 bone-in chicken thighs)
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 8 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar or white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 bunch thyme, plus leaves for garnish

For the Roasted Mushrooms:

  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, button, chanterelle or oyster, torn into large pieces or quartered (I used 24 oz cremini mushrooms and 10 oz button mushrooms, quartered)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Lemony Salad Greens with Sumac & to Serve:

  • mesclun salad greens or 2 to 3 heads Little Gem lettuces, ends trimmed, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • sumac, for sprinkling
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • crusty bread, for serving
  • Greek yogurt, labneh, or sour cream, for serving
  1. Dry chicken with paper towels and season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. (I used a large and wide enameled cast iron pan.)
  3. Working in batches, add chicken skin-side down and cook until skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pot, 7 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken to brown on the other side, another 4 to 8 minutes, depending on what cut you’re using. As the chicken browns, transfer it to a large plate.
  4. Add onions and garlic to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, without moving them so they have a chance to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add vinegar and stock/water, then use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  6. Bring to a simmer and return chicken to the pot, skin-side up, nestling all the pieces in there. (They don’t need to be totally submerged.) Scatter thyme around and place the lid on top. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a gentle simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, with an internal temperature of 165 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, roast the mushrooms. Heat the oven to 425 or 450 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  8. Toss mushrooms with olive oil on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once or twice, until the mushrooms are deeply browned and crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, 15 to 20 minutes depending on the type of mushroom and strength of your oven. (I roasted potatoes in the same oven.)
  9. If serving the salad, toss Little Gems with lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle with sumac and drizzle with olive oil before serving. (I served the chicken with green salad instead.)
  10. Remove chicken from heat and season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper as needed.
  11. Transfer chicken, onions and thyme to a large serving platter, spooning cooking liquid over the top, or alternatively, serve directly from the pot, with the mushrooms and salad alongside you like. Add toast and something creamy if you choose.

Additional Suggestions to Complete the Meal:

  • Bread: Slice any good, crusty loaf of your choosing about 3/4-inch thick and toast until golden brown. Rub with a cut garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil. Garlicky or spicy bread crumbs would also be welcome if you’re feeling carb-inclined. I served the dish with sliced sourdough baguette.
  • Something creamy: Chicken loves more fat, especially this very tangy chicken. A bowlful of any seasoned creamy ingredient like sour cream, full-fat yogurt or labneh sprinkled with chives is excellent for spooning onto or underneath the chicken, over lemony lettuces and onto toast. I served the chicken with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
  • Quick pickles: For a quick, light pickle, toss thinly sliced vegetables such as radishes or fennel with a little thinly sliced shallot and season with a good splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.

Za’atar Chicken Schnitzel with Israeli Salad

I made all of these sautéed chicken dishes months apart, but it seems right to share them at the same time. 🙂

My Austrian sister-in-law has traditional schnitzel with freshly made mayonnaise and cucumber salad for dinner every Christmas Eve. It is absolutely delicious. I loved this Middle Eastern variation.

This recipe was adapted from Bringing it Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating by Gail Simmons with Mindy Fox. I substituted chicken thighs for chicken cutlets and cooked the dish in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Perfect.

This schnitzel would also be wonderful served as a sandwich in a pita with hummus.

Yield: Serves 4

For the Israeli Salad:

  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tsp sumac, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Schnitzel:

  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 1/2 T za’atar
  • freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 chicken cutlets, about 1 pound
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • lemon wedges, for serving

To start the salad:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, parsley, and mint.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the schnitzel:

  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Place an ovenproof platter or a baking sheet int he oven to warm.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, stir together the flour, 1 tsp salt, and a generous pinch of pepper.
  3. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and a pinch of salt.
  4. In a third shallow bowl, combine the panko, za’atar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Place each piece of chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin, gently pound each piece of chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.
  6. Pat the meat dry and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess.
  8. Dip in the eggs, letting excess drip off, then gently press into the panko mixture to completely coat.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
  10. Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat, until hot but not smoking. (I used a cast iron skillet over medium heat.)
  11. Fry the chicken in 2 batches, turning once, until cooked through and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  12. Drain each batch on paper towel-lined plates, season with salt, then transfer to the platter in the oven to keep warm.

To finish the salad:

  1. Add the 2 T oil, lemon juice, za’atar, sumac, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture.
  2. Toss to combine.

To serve:

  1. Serve the schnitzel with the salad piled on top (or vice versa!) with lemon wedges on the side.

Salad-Topped Hummus Platter

The culmination of my daughter’s summer theatre camp involves days of dress rehearsals followed by matinée and evening performances. She absolutely loves it all and it is worth every second, but it was also difficult to prepare and eat dinner during this time. That’s show business, right? 😉

This genius quick, healthy, and filling appetizer turned dinner saved the day the evening of her final performance. The recipe was adapted from Ina Garten via Smitten Kitchen.com. I made my favorite hummus, added arugula, used a peeled CSA cucumber, and substituted red wine vinegar for lemon juice in the dressing. I could eat it all summer long!

  • 2 cups prepared hummus
  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) grape tomatoes, quartered, plus more to taste
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, or multiple small cucumbers, unpeeled, chopped
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped small, optional
  • 1 T red wine vinegar or juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp sumac
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, or a mix of parsley, mint, and chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula, to taste
  • warm naan or pita, for serving
  1. Prepare hummus in a food processor.
  2. Spread hummus on a large plate with the back of a spoon, creating swirls and cavities. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, just to freshen it up.
  3. Mix tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, red wine vinegar/lemon juice, about 2 tablespoons olive oil, sumac, plus salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  4. Stir in herbs.
  5. Top hummus with arugula. Heap salad on top of the arugula. Finish with additional sumac and/or fresh herbs.
  6. Serve with warm naan or pita wedges.

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Ottolenghi’s Tomato & Pomegranate Salad

This salad was fresh, bright, colorful, and loaded with flavor. I loved the crunch from the pomegranate seeds too. We ate it as part of our Middle Eastern feast along with grilled chicken thighs, Hummus, Baked Rice, Deconstructed Baba Ghanouj, and warm naan. Delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I made my own za’atar spice blend and omitted the mint. It would be a lovely side with any grilled meat. Perfect for a picnic too.

I’m bringing this dish to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #127 co-hosted by my friends Suzanne @A Pug in the Kitchen and Jess @ Cooking is my Sport. Enjoy!

For the Za’atar:

  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

For the Salad:

  • 2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar (see above)
  • 3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate (I used a 5.3 oz package of pomegranate seeds)
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (I omitted the mint)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1/2 of a lemon)
  • flaky sea salt such as Fleur de Sel
  • 3 ½ ounces manouri or feta cheese, broken into small chunks
  1. Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt. Set aside.
  2. Halve or quarter the tomatoes so that they are all roughly the same size, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix two teaspoons of the za’atar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside.
  4. To the bowl with tomatoes, add the pomegranate seeds, sliced pepper and onion, the herbs, lemon juice, cheese, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Gently mix the salad, then transfer it to a large shallow bowl or serving platter. Drizzle the za’atar mixture over the salad and serve.

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Za’atar Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

This was such a lovely dinner, I felt like I should have been making it for a dinner party! My family and I did enjoy it… and we didn’t have to share. 😉 We ate this main dish along with Spicy Israeli Couscous with Summer Squash. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Grace Parisi. I made my own za’atar blend and included the ingredients and instructions below.

I am bringing this boldly flavored dish to share at Fiesta Friday #86, co-hosted by Judi @ Cooking with Aunt Juju and Quinn @ Dad Whats 4 Dinner. Enjoy!!

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Za’atar:

  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet and coarsely pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt

To Finish the Dish:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • coarse Kosher salt
  • Two 12-ounce pork tenderloins, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inches thick and pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  1. Make the Za’atar: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until lightly toasted. Pulse in a spice grinder until a powder is formed. Combine with sumac, thyme, and coarse salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the za’atar with the oil. Add the pork, turn to coat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler, turning frequently, until blackened; transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly. Peel and seed the chiles; cut into thin strips.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pork marinade. Add the pork and cook over high heat, turning once, until white throughout and lightly browned, 5 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter.
  5. Add any remaining marinade oil to the skillet. Add the onion and poblano and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and toss. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook until the tomatoes are just softened, 4 minutes.
  6. Spoon the tomato-poblano sauce over the pork and serve.

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Falafel-Spiced Heirloom Tomatoes & Chickpeas on Flatbread

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I am bringing you this wonderful dish as a guest post of sorts. I had my eye on this recipe, and my friend brought it to share at a dinner at my house. It was so pretty and tasty, we decided I had to share it! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. My friend doubled the heirloom tomatoes and cut them slightly thicker. She also used lemon zest as well as sumac in the seasonings. Warm naan was substituted for the flatbread in the original recipe (although I included the instructions below). My mistake was suggesting that we should warm the naan in the oven. Next time, grilling or toasting the naan until crispy before assembly would allow it to hold up a little better to the slathering of delicious toppings. 🙂

The beautiful summer tomatoes really shine in this dish!

Yield: 4 as a vegetarian main course or 8 to 10 as an appetizer

For the Tomatoes & Chickpeas:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sumac (and/or lemon zest)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more
  • 2 to 4 large heirloom tomatoes, any color, thinly sliced
  • 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • hot sauce, such as Cholula
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Flatbread & Assembly:

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Tomatoes And Chickpeas:

  1. Combine garlic, sumac (& lemon zest, if using), red pepper flakes, coriander, cumin, and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl.
  2. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle garlic mixture evenly over top. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  3. Toss chickpeas and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mash chickpeas with a fork until about half are smashed. Add shallot, parsley, and oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To Make the Yogurt Sauce:

  1. Combine cucumber, yogurt, mint, and parsley in a medium bowl; season with hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes.
    Do Ahead: Yogurt sauce can be made 1 hour ahead. Cover and chill.

To Make the Flatbread: (Alternatively, substitute 4 pieces of full-size naan, grilled or toasted until crisp.)

  1. Whisk baking powder, sugar, 2 cups flour, and 2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Add yogurt and stir to combine (the yogurt’s acidity ensures a tender texture).
  2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Divide into 4 pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes (this will make dough easier to roll).
  3. Working one at a time, roll out each piece of dough into a round about ⅛” thick. (Don’t stress: They don’t need to be perfect.)
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Working one at a time, cook rounds of dough until underside is golden brown and flatbread is beginning to puff, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is golden brown, about 1 minute longer; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and rounds of dough. Let cool slightly.

To Assemble:

  1. Top each flatbread with yogurt sauce, chickpea mixture, and tomatoes. Drizzle with more oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Two Years Ago:

Shish Taouk: Middle Eastern Chicken Kebabs

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These kebabs were the focal point of an AMAZING meal. We ate the grilled kebab meat wrapped in warm naan, doused with tzatziki, sprinkled with red onion, with Turkish bulgur pilaf and green salad on the side. I felt like I was in our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant- only better! 🙂 I used naan because the pita bread served in our favorite restaurant is more similar to naan than store-bought pita. I also modified my gold-standard tzatziki recipe by thinly slicing the cucumber into rounds using a mandolin; my mother-in-law recently served tzatziki this way and not only was it delicious, the presentation was wonderful.

I had planned to try this dish ever since seeing a post about it on Savory and Sweet Food, but I had trouble finding sumac. I couldn’t believe my great fortune when sumac appeared in the “new item” section at Trader Joe’s! No wonder I am such a fan of their store. 🙂 This recipe was inspired by savoryandsweetfood.com, mamaslebanesekitchen.com, and saveur.com. I used a gas grill, chicken thighs rather than chicken breasts, substituted fresh dill for half of the fresh mint, and modified the spice blend. DELICIOUS!!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts), about 10 thighs
  • 15 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 16 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 to 4 large sprigs of fresh dill
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 6 T non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • pita bread or naan, for serving
  • tzatziki, for serving
  • sliced or diced red onion, for serving, optional
  • lettuce, tomatoes, for serving, optional
  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes.
  2. In a food processor, make a paste of the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, spices, tomato paste, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Add the Greek yogurt to the paste. Mix well. Taste for salt.
  4. In a glass bowl or baking dish, marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours.
  5. Then skewer the chicken on approximately eight 10-inch metal skewers.
  6. Grill over medium heat, turning, until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, 10–12 minutes.
  7. To serve: Remove from skewer onto warm bread. Dress with tzatziki, sprinkle with red onions, shredded lettuce, and/or tomatoes as desired.

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