This Za’atar Chicken Thighs with Green Lentils is an easy, hearty dish with intense flavor.
Hello folks! How was your weekend?
Hope all you moms out there had a fantastic Mother’s Day!
Today, I’m sharing one of my new favorite dishes, this Za’atar Chicken Thighs with Green Lentils.
But, first things first.
What is za’atar?
It’s a Middle Eastern blend of spices that gives dishes an intensely aromatic flavor.
Pronounced zah-tar, it’s a combination of dried thyme, majoram, sumac, sesame seeds and salt. It’s fabulous for flavoring bread, veggies and meats. It adds an earthy flavor to whatever you’re making.
You can make your own za’atar by combining a handful of spices or you can buy this spice blend from your local market.
I love adding some za’atar to olive oil along with salt and drizzling it over some warm pita or naan bread. It turns the ordinary into extraordinary.
Today’s Za’atar Chicken Thighs with Green Lentils is a favorite because it checks all the boxes for me. Nothing beats tender, juicy chicken thighs, the heartiness of the lentils, the intense flavor of the za’atar and the added burst of flavor from the pitted green olives and lemon zest.
This is one flavor-packed dish you NEED to get on your menu guys! Enjoy!
A Few Cook’s Notes for Za’atar Chicken Thighs with Green Lentils Recipe:
French green lentils are used in this recipe because they have a firmer texture then other varieties which hold up better when used in braising recipes.
If you decide to make homemade za’atar pulse 3 taplespoons dried thyme, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon ground sumac, 1/2 tsp. marjoram, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt in a spice grinder a few times to break up the sesame seeds a bit. You should still see a few whole seeds. Store for up to six months in a cool place.
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 Tbsp. za'atar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, reduced-sodium
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup pitted green olives, whole or halved
- lemon zest
- fresh thyme sprigs
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season chicken thighs with za'atar. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the thighs and cook 4 minutes each side until browned. Remove to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and carrots. Cook 5 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for one minute. Add broth, lentils and the tomato paste. Stir. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover and braise in oven for 45-55 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Strain remaining mixture reserving the liquid. Add the lentils and veggies to the platter with the chicken. Return the liquid to the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Pour the liquid over the chicken and veggies on the platter. Top with the olives, lemon zest and thyme sprigs. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens February 2019