Sumac Chicken

A simple dish that is as easy to make as it is full of flavor. Put it together in 5 minutes then forget about it for an hour, and voila: delicious, fall-off-the-bone chicken that tastes, well, of sumac. Sumac is a bit tart—but not overly. It tastes like lemon and is therefore delicious on dishes that go well with lemon such as chicken and fish. Even if you’ve never cooked with sumac, you may have walked by a sumac tree once or twice and thought its red berries were absolutely gorgeous, unaware that they were also the source of an unbelievably tasty spice.

It is widely used throughout the Middle East and most Mediterranean countries and adds a beautiful reddish color to food. In Morocco it is not widely used in cooking as much as it is in tanning leather and dyeing textiles.

My daughter kept asking for more of this chicken. She ate her serving and had most mine as well. She said it was the best chicken I’ve ever made. I don’t know if it is but it certainly is one of the easiest I’ve ever made.

Serve it with rice, couscous or roasted vegetables.


Sumac Chicken Recipe

4 servings

4 chicken leg quarters
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking spray
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons ground sumac

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Trim the chicken quarters of excess fat.

Place the chicken in a rimmed baking dish. Brush the chicken with olive oil or spray it with cooking spray. Rub it with garlic then sprinkle it with salt, pepper and sumac. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake the chicken for another 30 to 40 minutes.


20 Responses to “Sumac Chicken”

  1. 1

    Angie's Recipes — 11/29/2010 @ 12:43 pm

    Awesome! Simple and flavourful!

  2. 2

    A SPICY PERSPECTIVE — 11/29/2010 @ 3:50 pm

    I don't often cook with sumac…that's a shame! This looks like the dish that may break that bad habit!

  3. 3

    Damaris @Kitchen Corners — 11/29/2010 @ 4:36 pm

    my neighbor from lebanon introduced me to sumac. It's amazing. I never knew such a flavor with so much depth and tang existed. I'm in love.

  4. 4

    Marc @ NoRecipes — 11/29/2010 @ 7:13 pm

    I love sumac and like that you kept this so simple highlighting the chicken and sumac.

  5. 5

    Mademoiselle Poirot — 11/29/2010 @ 9:10 pm

    Bonsoir Nisrine, that chicken looks very good and the fact that it only takes 5mins to prepare makes it even better. I'll definitely have to try it :-) Hope you are well, have a lovely week, bisous & Love from London xo

  6. 6

    oneordinaryday — 11/29/2010 @ 10:38 pm

    Sounds wonderful and it looks absolutely delicious. I've never had anything with sumac before, but I'm going to be keeping an eye out for it now.

    Wanted to say thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I'm going to go peek around Dinners and Dreams for a bit. :)

  7. 7

    A Plum By Any Other Name — 11/30/2010 @ 3:00 am

    Love the idea of using Sumac and I LOVE that your daughter loves it. (I think kids are the toughest of food critics.) Bravo!

  8. 8

    Sanura — 11/30/2010 @ 3:12 am

    I keep reading about this spice. Your simple dish (great for a weekday meal) is a great introduction. I'll start looking for it in spice stores.

  9. 9

    Cherine — 11/30/2010 @ 8:19 am

    I love sumac. Your chicken looks really tasty and flavorful!

  10. 10

    Caffettiera — 11/30/2010 @ 11:52 am

    There is something slightly addictive in sumac.. I can't stop eating things with sumac on top. Often the simplest recipes are the best.

  11. 11

    Nisrine Merzouki — 11/30/2010 @ 12:15 pm

    Plum–I think she prefers the juiciness of the chicken thighs to the chicken breasts I usually cook.

    Caffettiera–It does have an addictive quality. I have to agree :)

  12. 12

    Nadji — 11/30/2010 @ 6:24 pm

    J'ai du sumac et les cuisses de poulet sont la partie que je préfère dans le poulet.
    A tester .
    Bonne semaine et à bientôt.

  13. 13

    Chow and Chatter — 12/01/2010 @ 3:27 am

    love sumac I so need to make this will also bookmark it love your blog Rebecca

  14. 14

    Delishhh — 12/01/2010 @ 7:18 am

    I just stumbled upon your blog and love it. I have always wanted to go to morocco and i love Moroccan food. I have traveled all over but still not made it to Moroccan. I recently did a Moroccan soup. But hope to learn more from your blog. You have a new follower.

  15. 15

    Joanne — 12/01/2010 @ 12:24 pm

    I've never cooked with sumac before but you've intrigued me with your description of its flavor! I'll have to head to my local Middle Eastern grocer to check it out!

  16. 16

    A Canadian Foodie — 12/01/2010 @ 2:58 pm

    This would be delish – so simple and I would have never thought of it – yet it is perfectly logical… and I love the sour tang of sumac…. YUM!

  17. 17

    We Are Not Martha — 12/01/2010 @ 5:09 pm

    This sounds so simple and delicious. And it's beautiful, too!


  18. 18

    fortheloveofyum — 12/01/2010 @ 7:12 pm

    I like to make Turkish-style kababs with sumac or use it on salads. Like your idea about the leg quarters. Looks yummy!

  19. 19

    Dana — 12/06/2010 @ 9:22 pm

    I've never used sumac before, I'm going to have to try it out!

  20. 20

    Mark Fisher — 11/24/2011 @ 7:04 am

    Thank you so much. Your Sumac chicken is wonderful. Can you direct me to any other recipes – you mention fish. Presumably ‘meaty’ fish – salmon, cod? How about vegetable dishes?

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