There is a tiny Palestinian village called An’arreeck, where a famous dish called Musakhan originated. Musakhan means “warmed” or “heated” in Arabic. It’s a gorgeous dish of roasted chicken baked on bread topped with caramelized onions and toasted pine nuts. To this day you can find older women baking the bread in a “taboun” or clay oven in the same village. I made a series of videos for this very dish in my Feast in the Middle East debut in 2010. I picked this dish because it is so special to me, Musakhan is fancy and rustic at the same time, fun to eat and easy to prepare!
Back then I use a television pilot format, basically the videos added up to 30 minutes with room for commercial breaks in between. Are you kidding me? So much has changed since then! According to Time Magazine, we now we all have the attention span of a goldfish, so I knew I had to compact this recipe for YouTube’s fast paced video culture. I found Musakhan is a real crowd pleaser at dinner parties, and also makes a cozy meal for the family any day of the week. My family always fights over the pieces of juicy bread at the bottom, full of meaty flavor, browned and crispy around the edges. If you don’t have sumac on hand, you can substitute allspice, although sumac has a more delicate and tangy flavor. Many Middle Eastern grocery stores sell sumac in bulk for a very reasonable price. Sumac is actually the ground bulb of a flowering shrub. It is deep purple in color and adds a tangy, lemony flavor to dishes, and is used to garnish many Middle Eastern dishes as well because of its beautiful color. This dish has been a real hit at my cooking classes, and now you can make it too! Just click on my new video below and let me know what you think in the comments section!
If you don’t have sumac in your neighborhood, this is a great BRAND I love to use.
And I also love this line of organic spices, and they have a great ALLSPICE
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs
Pita bread (or flatbread)
Salt and pepper to taste