Chicken drumsticks with za’atar marinade

I discovered the lovely herb blend za’atar on my trip to Syria about a year ago. It consists of sesame seeds and dried thyme, but depending on the blend it can taste quite different. I bought a large bag of my favourite blend, a special blend a Damascus spice wholesaler made so it is probably one of the best you can get.

I love to cook with this blend and have used it in a few different dishes. Last week I marinaded drumsticks in a mixture of za’atar, lemon juice, Japanese soy, olive oil and garlic for about 48 hours and the cooked chicken was lovely and moist and coated of a golden layer or the marinade.

I used dried limes (also purchased in Syria) and whole cardamom pods to flavour the rice, which is popular in the Middle East. Once drained and the spices removed I sprinkled some sumac on it for extra flavour. The sauce is a simple mix of creme fraiche/soured cream, sambal oelek and fresh lime juice.

If you don’t want to eat the chicken with rice for supper the drumsticks work well on a picnic as well.

Chicken drumsticks with za’atar marinade

6 chicken drumsticks

4 tbsp za’atar

1/2 lemon, the juice

2 tbsp Japanese soy

2 whole garlic cloves

1/2 olive oil

salt, black pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large ziplock bag and shake to combine. Leave in the fridge to marinade for at least 24 hours, but preferrably 48. Cook in a 200C oven on a rack with a tin foil covered roasting tray below for about 20 minutes.

Chicken drumsticks with sweet chilli marinade

I always tend to by chicken drumsticks when they’re on offer, as I like the darker chicken meat and these are perfect to snack on, bring to a picnic etc.

The recipe for this fabulous marinade is from a great Swedish food blog called Smaskens. Annika who runs it is one of my role models in cooking and all the recipes I have tried from her have been wonderful. This was no exception.

I ate the drumsticks in two ways. First served with couscous with lemon and spinach and a simple cold sauce with creme fraiche and sweet chilli. Second just lukewarm with corn on the cob. Both were delicious, and if you marinade the chicken for as long as I did, 48 hours, the meat is so tender and succulent you don’t need a sauce with it.

Chicken drumsticks with sweet chilli marinade

After Annika’s recipe.

1,8 kg chicken drumsticks

50 ml Chinese soy sauce

100 ml sweet chilli sauce

100 ml olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, grated/pressed

2 tsp sambal oelek

1 tsp salt

black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the marinade and pour it into a large ziplock bag (double-bag if needed) and add the chicken. Marinade for at least an hour, preferably longer. I kept mine in the fridge for 48 hours, turning it around a few times to the marinade to distribute evenly.

Place the chicken on a wire rack with a roasting tray underneath. Cook in 200C oven for about 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes so the cook evenly.