This super tasty Chicken Thighs with Za’atar, Carrots and Currants is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. I’m not promising a 30 minute dinner, but I am promising that you will get an extraordinary chicken dinner with simple ingredients. The flavor profile of this dish has an earthy, finish with the Za’atar but complimenting this, tender carrots, red onions and currants offering a tinge of sweetness. I serve this dish with Moroccan style couscous that cooks in 5 minutes and is a perfect compliment. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or Labneh, with a squeeze of lemon juice and let dinner time begin.
What is Za’atar?
The earthy, herby spice mix is popular in Middle East countries. This spice mix generally has thyme, marjoram, oregano, sumac and toasted sesame seeds. Some include orange zest, salt, dried dill or actual dried wild herb Za’atar also known as hyssop. The flavor profile is complex as it’s herbal but the sumac gives it almost a lemon flavor. I would suggest buying this in small quantities so it’s used in optimal freshness. Another thing is when buying this spice blend, look for bright colors in the blend. If the colors look dark and muted, chances are that the spices are on the decline. I buy Penzeys brand online. (I’ve been using their spices for years)
You can use this on roast chicken, grilled meats, vegetables, salads or just on some ripe heirloom tomatoes. For this recipe, we top the chicken with the Za’atar before the finishing braise rather than browning the chicken with it. This keeps the flavor of the Za’atar a bit sharp and completely compliments the sweetness of the chicken, carrots and currants.
How to make and serve Chicken thighs with Za’atar, Carrots and Currants
I am sharing a broad overview of the process of making this dish and my favorite way of serving it. The details are in the recipe card below.
You will need a large, 12 inch deep skillet or a shallow dutch oven (4-6 quart) for this recipe with a lid.
Over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and heat until oil is glistening. Add sliced carrots, onions and garlic and sauté until vegetables are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from skillet.
Add another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and proceed to brown salted, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You may have to work in two batches as 1 1/2 lbs of chicken is approximately 6 thighs. Brown for about 5-8 minutes on each side. You only want to brown the chicken as it will finish cooking during the braising at the end. NOTE: if you use skin on, bone in thighs, reduce oil to 1/2 tbsp and note that they will take a little longer to brown about 8-10 minutes.
Return vegetables to the skillet, and sprinkle currants on top of vegetable mixture. Top with browned chicken pieces. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Generously sprinkle chicken pieces with Za’atar. Place lid on the pan and reduce heat to medium low and cooking an additional 15 minutes.
While the chicken is braising, cook couscous (total time for couscous is about 10 minutes).
To serve Chicken Thighs with Za’atar Carrots and Currants, make 1/2 cup of Lemon Yogurt. Use plain Greek yogurt and add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir and set aside. Chop some parsley and add cooked couscous to the plate, top with a chicken thigh, carrot mixture and a dollop of lemon yogurt. Squeeze more lemon juice over entire plate and serve with toasted flatbread like Lavash or Pita.
Questions, substitutions and tips
Yes, I would recommend cutlets that are thinner cuts. Also, reduce browning time in half as you want to keep the chicken breast moist.
Yes! Increase browning time as bone in thighs are more dense than without the bone. Braising should remain the same.
Yes, but I recommend golden raisins as the flavor is more delicate. Zante currants are optimal in this recipe.
You can serve this dish with mashed potatoes, wild rice or steamed rice.
Chicken Thighs with Za’atar, Carrots and CurrantsMarch 13, 2022
- 1 12" skillet with lid or shallow dutch oven (4-6 qt)
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs skinless, boneless
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 large onion red, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided extra virgin
- 1/4 cup currants can substitute golden raisins
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp Za'atar spice blend
- 2 cups couscous cooked
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt Greek or Labneh
- 1 lemon Cut into wedges for serving
- 4 tbsp Parsley roughly chopped
- 2 whole Lavash, flatbread or Pita optional
- Wash and dry carrots. Peel and slice into thin slices. Place in bowl and set aside.
- Peel red onion and slice into thin slices. Add to carrot mixture.
- Peel and slice garlic and add to carrot mixture.
- Pat dry chicken thighs and sprinkle Kosher salt on both sides. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and heat until glistening.
- Add sliced carrots, onions and garlic mixture and sauté until vegetables are somewhat tender, about 5-10 minutes. Remove mixture from skillet.
- Add another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and proceed to brown chicken thighs.
- You may have to work in two batches as 1 1/2 lbs of chicken is approximately 6 thighs. Brown for about 5-8 minutes on each side. You only want to brown the chicken as it will finish cooking during the braise at the end. Remove from chicken from skillet.
- NOTE: if you use skin on, bone in thighs, reduce oil to 1/2 tbsp and note that they will take a little longer to brown about 8-10 minutes on each side.
- Return vegetables to the skillet, reduce heat to low. Sprinkle currants on top of vegetable mixture. Top with browned chicken pieces. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Generously sprinkle the top of chicken pieces with Za'atar. Place lid on the pan and cook an additional 15 minutes.
- While the chicken is finishing up, cook couscous (total time about 10 minutes.)
- When the chicken is done braising and internal temperature of thighs is 165ºF, remove from heat.
- Garnishes: add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the plain Greek yogurt and stir well. Set aside.
- Chop some parsley and set aside.
- How to serve: On a plate, add 1/2 cup of cooked couscous, 6oz of Chicken thighs with carrot mixture. Top with a dollop of lemony yogurt and top with chopped parsley. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over entire dish. Enjoy with your favorite flatbread.
Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.
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