Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crock pot chicken musakhan

As part of my Sunday prep, I like to make some sort of meat pile. "Meat pile" is what I term a bunch of meat that I cook in the crock pot (or possibly browned ground meat) that I can use on salads, over veggies, as part of a snack plate, and so forth. Lately my meat piles have been seasoned chicken thighs, and this one was tasty enough to share.

Apparently, Chicken Musakhan is a very popular Palestinian dish. According to Wikipedia:

Musakhan is made of tender chicken spiced with the lemony flavor of sumac and the sweetness of caramelized onions.

OK, I'm in...

Sheets of flatbread encase the chicken as it cooks, protecting it from direct heat and soaking up the juices.

Honestly? HONESTLY?? That sounds f*cking delicious. But...I'm going to make it without the bread. And that means I can use the crock pot! Bonus: I don't have to run the oven and heat up the kitchen in July.

Musakhan is traditionally eaten with the fingers.

I guess that is what the bread is for, right? Whatever, ate some fistfuls of chicken pre-workout. Just trying to be authentic here.

You can see that my chicken musakhan meat pile is part of a mezze plate of sorts. I made a cucumber salad (basically a chunky version of this), roasted some eggplant, and also laid out some storebought olives, roasted peppers, and little pickles. Instead of the cucumber salad and roasted eggplant I might do raw cukes and peppers with baba ghanoush (favorite recipe) and other assorted dip(s), like tahini sauce or Middle Eastern dressing. I also might add some marinated artichoke hearts to the plate, or some cooked veggies like okra or kale...basically whatever I bought from the store and/or prepped on Sunday. It's really nice when I'm indecisive about what I want to eat.

Serves about 6

  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (I used the food processor fitted with a slicing disk)
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • 0.5 oz (weight) ground sumac*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Big pinch saffron (optional, but nice)
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

  1. In a large microwave safe bowl (I used a big glass mixing bowl), combine the onions, olive oil, sumac, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and saffron. Microwave for 2.5 minutes, stir, then microwave for another 2.5 minutes. If you don't mind dirtying a pan, you can of course saute the onion and add the spices, I just like this shortcut when I'm using the slow cooker.
  2. Dump the chicken into the slow cooker (frozen is fine, just tack another hour onto the cook time if unthawed). Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture and stir, nestling the chicken in the onions.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours or until done. When ready to serve, saute the pine nuts in a bit of olive oil over medium-high until browned. Finely chop the mint. Taste and add more salt and pepper to the chicken if desired. Serve topped with mint and pine nuts.
*I realize that this is obnoxious for several reasons: giving a directive for spices based on weight rather than volume (who does that?), and giving a recipe that involves sumac, period. I found sumac in a little bag at a specialty market, it said it was half an ounce so I just dumped the whole thing in without measuring. I think it was about two tablespoons? If you can't find sumac, you can substitute paprika + a squirt of lemon juice, but you can get sumac at Middle Eastern markets ($) or stores like Whole Foods ($$$$$).


Michele said...

A great recipe I can't wait to try out. I love Arab food and those adventurous enough to try it! I wish more cooks would.

I have my own version of Musakhan Rolls, inline with an Arab style. While different from your own, I think my recipe is a unique take on the dish. I'm new to the Food Blog scene and would love some feedback from a pro like you. Check out my recipe if have time.


Stevensen Liu said...

Thanks a lot mate, great help Regards.
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kzielin said...

I refuse to use a microwave

Meliss said...

I made this in my Instant Pot last night, and it was good, but the leftovers today were great! (I added 1/2 c. chicken broth to pressure cook, and cooked it on high pressure for ten mins. I served it over roasted cauliflower "rice".) Thanks for posting this delicious recipe!

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