I’ve been trying to plan our 2015 March BreACK!, which means having a look back at last year’s amazing Mediterranean week. The thing I long for the most is the taste of our Cheese and Za’atar Manakeesh, those lovely seasoned flatbreads the kids gobble up like pizza. [Toby still won’t eat the za’atar, but Bea has become a complete convert!] Even with this head cold, when I think of those flatbreads, I can still taste the sumac on my tongue. As I was concocting this recipe [in order to nurse that head cold and all of the other head colds in the house], I ended up making myself several slices of toast and slathering them with butter and za’atar. It was heavenly! Suprisingly, or not so suprisingly, broiled grapefruit also made a fabulous side.
A word to the wise, here: Za’atar has high salt content, so please be sure to use low or no-salt stock when making this soup!
Chicken Soup with Za'atar, Lemon, and Parsnips
- 2-3 tbs olive oil
- several tbs za'atar
- 6 pieces of chicken legs with thighs attached [or 1.6 kg bone-in chicken]
- 4 cups thinly sliced onion [2-3 onions]
- 2 cups chopped celery [about 5 stalks]
- 1 tbs minced garlic
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1.5 c white wine [water or stock]
- 1800 ml low or no salt chicken stock
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 c water
- 4-6 garlic cloves
- 3 1/2 c chopped parsnips [1 lb about 5 parsnips]
- 3 1/2 c chopped carrots [1 lb about 5 carrots]
- In a very large stock pot or dutch oven, heat 2-3 tbs olive oil.
- Season chicken liberally with za'atar.
- Brown chicken in batches in pot over medium-high heat.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- [If desired, remove a few tablespoons of the fat from the pan. You want to have about 2-3 tbs total fat.]
- Add onions and celery to the pot.
- Stir and cook over medium heat until onions soften and begin to brown slightly [about 10 minutes].
- Just as the bottom of the pan begins to brown, add 1 tbs minced garlic and 1 tsp of the lemon zest.
- Stir for about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze by adding .5 c of the white wine [water or stock] and scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat whisk or wooden spoon.
- Remove the onion and celery mixture from the pot and set aside.
- Return the chicken to the pot and add the stock, lemon juice, and water.
- Bring to a boil and boil for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and cool slightly.
- Add parsnips and carrots to boiling broth and cook for at least 10 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through.
- In the meantime, remove the bones from the chicken and slice. [You choose whether or not you want to slice and return the skin to the soup]. You should have about 4 cups of chicken pieces for your soup.
- Return onions and celery to the pot.
- Return sliced chicken to the pot.
- Add the remaining 1 cup of white wine to the pot.
- Cook for a few more minutes.
- Remove as much fat as you would like from the soup with a spoon, paper towel, or turkey baster.
- Add 1-3 tsp additional za'atar.
- Serve with a .5 tsp za'atar and some lemon zest or a lemon slice.
Side dishes that rock with this soup: Cheese or Za’atar Manakeesh and Broiled Grapefruit.