This shish taouk, Middle Eastern grilled chicken, is first rubbed with a paste of garlic, oil, and sumac and then grilled. It’s served with a pomegranate-tamarind sauce. Spectacularly exotic yet still surprisingly familiar.
For the chicken
6 garlic cloves crushed
6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons sumac
One (3-pound) whole chicken
11 ounces boneless skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pomegranate-tamarind sauce
4 tablespoons tamarind paste
6 1/2 tablespoons of water
5 ounces peeled walnuts chopped and toasted if desired
6 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses*
Make the chicken
1. Preheat a grill to high.
2. In a medium bowl combine the crushed garlic cloves with the olive oil and sumac.
3. Butterfly the chicken, flatten it out a bit with a rolling pin, and place 2 skewers in a cross shape through the butterflied chicken to keep it flat during grilling. Rub with 2/3 of the garlic mixture and season with salt and pepper.
4. Season the chicken thigh with salt and pepper and thread the chicken onto metal skewers. Slather the rest of the garlic mixture onto the chicken thighs.
5. Grill the butterflied chicken over indirect heat until golden brown and cooked 40 to 60 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the chicken skewers and grill until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
6. Make the pomegranate-tamarind sauce
7. In a small saucepan set over low heat, combine the tamarind paste, water, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. Bring to a simmer then season with pepper, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve alongside the chicken.
Published Oct 23, 2018
Adapted from Nadia Zerouali | Merijn Toul | Souk | Smith Street Books, 2018
posted by LC Editors | photo by Ernie Enkler