Za’atar Chicken And Rice Pilaf Recipe

Za’atar Chicken And Rice Pilaf Recipe

How To Make Za’atar Chicken And Rice Pilaf

Brimming with spices and herbs, this rice pilaf combines brined roasted chicken, vermicelli noodles, and za’atar oil for a medley of mouthwatering flavors.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Chill Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total: 7 hours 45 minutes



  • 5lbswhole chicken

For Brine:

  • 1tbspwhole black peppercorn
  • 1tbspfennel seeds
  • 1tbspcoriander seed
  • 16cupswater,divided
  • 4sprigsfresh oregano
  • 4sprigsfresh thyme
  • 3dried bay leaves
  • ½cupkosher salt
  • ½cupdark brown sugar,packed
  • ¼cupsoy sauce,or tamari

For Chicken Seasoning:

  • 1ozlemon peel,chopped
  • 1ozgarlic,chopped
  • 3tbspcanola oil,or other neutral oil
  • 8tbspunsalted butter
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • 2tspza’atar

For Rice Pilaf:

  • 2cupschicken stock
  • 1tbspunsalted butter
  • 2garlics,halved lengthwise
  • ½cupfideo,(broken vermicelli noodles)
  • cupswhite basmati rice

For Za’atar Oil:

  • ¼cupolive oil
  • tspza’atar
  • ¼tspkosher salt

To Serve:

  • 2tbspfresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1lemon,cut into 8 wedges


  1. Place the chicken, breast-side down, on a cutting board. Using a pair of kitchen shears or a very sharp knife, find the backbone of the chicken and cut up both sides to remove.

  2. Remove any giblets remaining inside the chicken. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breastbone until the chicken lies flat.


  1. In a small, dry pan, toast the peppercorns, fennel seeds, and coriander seeds for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and starting to change color.

  2. Transfer the toasted spices to a large pot with 4 cups of water, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, salt, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt, then let boil for 1 minute.

  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the brine to a large container. Cool the brine by adding the remaining water.

  4. Place the chicken in the brine, cover the container, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a wire rack or roasting rack on top of a baking sheet.

Chicken Seasoning:

  1. In a food processor, combine the lemon peel, garlic, and canola oil. Process into a thick paste.

  2. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Using the fingers, carefully separate the skin from the breasts and thighs. Rub the lemon garlic paste over the bird, making sure to get some under the skin.

  3. Rub the softened butter underneath and over the skin. Season on both sides with salt and za’atar. Place the chicken on the rack set over the baking sheet, breast-side up.

  4. Roast the chicken for 40 to 50 minutes, until the breast meat reaches 145 degrees F.

  5. Roast until the thigh meat, near the bones, reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Rice Pilaf:

  1. Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and cover it with water by 1 inch. Soak for 10 minutes.

  2. Add the chicken stock to a small pot and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low so the stock stays warm.

  3. In a large pot or pan over medium heat, combine the butter, garlic, and fideo. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until most of the noodles are golden brown.

  4. Drain the rice once the noodles are toasted, then add to the pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the rice is dry and coated with the butter.

  5. Add the hot chicken stock, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes until the noodles curl up. Fluff the pilaf with a fork, then cover again and let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Za’atar oil:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, za’atar, and salt.

  2. Carve the chicken, then arrange over the rice pilaf and spoon the za’atar oil over. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 2145.37kcal
  • Fat: 138.54g
  • Saturated Fat: 44.20g
  • Trans Fat: 1.64g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 59.90g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 24.43g
  • Carbohydrates: 102.33g
  • Fiber: 6.11g
  • Sugar: 21.08g
  • Protein: 119.31g
  • Cholesterol: 497.54mg
  • Sodium: 4335.46mg
  • Calcium: 284.28mg
  • Potassium: 1641.87mg
  • Iron: 11.80mg
  • Vitamin A: 472.36µg
  • Vitamin C: 40.93mg
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