This month’s MENA Cooking Club feature is Occupied Palestine. The MENA Cooking Club explores the differences and similarities of the Middle East and North African countries through local cuisine. Previous entries include Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, and Oman.The land of Palestine has been home to so many Prophets and as if the current unlawful and illegal occupation were not enough, even its identity is being thieved and adulterated. Felafel, knafa, pearl couscous, and simple cucumber tomato onion salad are all Palestinian. Make no mistake: Israel does not exist.
This is the traditional take of chicken musakhan (unlike my non-traditional chicken musakhan cones), made with very simple ingredients and might very well be the national dish of Palestine (although Jordan kind of adopted it but then again Jordan does have more Palestinians than Jordanians). Recipe adapted from Chef in Disguise.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
Roughly chop the onions and place them in a pot and add the olive oil.
Cook the onions over medium-low heat stirring occasionally till the onions are translucent but still hold their shape and have some texture, you don’t want them to get mushy (this will take 20- 30 minutes).
Once the onions are done, stir in 3 tablespoons of sumac, citric acid, a scant teaspoon of salt, and half teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
Drain some of the oil into a large separate pot and brown the chicken pieces for 40 minutes, flipping occasionally.
Sprinkle the chicken with a tablespoon of sumac, a teaspoon of salt and black pepper and toss them till they are completely coated with sumac.
Preheat oven to 400F.
On a baking sheet, place the bread quarters in a single layer. Spread the onion mixture over the bread. Place the brown chicken pieces skin side up over the onion. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with some natural yogurt to spoon over and a simple fresh salad.
You can also add a final touch of fried pinenuts.