The current wave of Middle Eastern Food at Meeta´s blog has driven me crazy. My craving for some kebab, dips, sweets and Middle Eastern breads just goes up like a rocket. I will play truant tomorrow to visit my favorite bakery (A1) in
I have wanted to make this particular dish for a long time. It appears in a superb cookbook called Saha by Greg & Lucy Malouf. Greg Malouf is the top Middle Eastern chef in
This is how the dish appears at the table. The paper bag of bread and chicken is served along side with spinach and chickpea stew. You really need to get messy with your hands to enjoy the dish. Open up the paper layer (used to form the bag), then the bread, and here it is, the chicken sitting inside – moist, spicy and flavorsome…
Chicken Baked in Bread Parcel
Adapted from recipe by Greg Malouf
Ingredients (serve 3-4)
1 package of mountain breads (mine has about 10 medium pieces)
About 4-5 pieces of chicken thigh cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sumac (*)
Chili powder, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
40ml olive oil
2 onions, finelt grated
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp ground sumac
2 bunches of spinach leaves, blanched, squeezed and chopped
300 ml good-quality chicken stock
150g cooked chickpea (from 1 can)
Juice of ½ lemon
150g roasted pine nuts
Salt & Pepper
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Marinade the chicken for 1-2 hours.
For the stew, sauté onions & garlic with oil until soft. Add spices and stir well. Add the chopped spinach to the pan, then the chickpeas. Use a fork to slightly crush the chickpeas (I didn´t do this), then add half of the stock. Turn up the heat & boil for 5 mins, or until the stock has evaporated. Remove from the heat, add lemon juice and pine nuts. Leave to cool.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Cut pieces of baking paper roughly 3 cm (1¼ inch) larger than the squares of mountain bread. Lay them on the work surface and place the bread on top. Spoon a dollop of spinach mixture onto the centre of each piece of bread and place some chicken on top.
Gather the edges of the paper and bread together above the chicken and tie with kitchen string so you have a little bag. Place on a baking tray and cover with foil to stop the paper getting crisp and the string from burning. Cook for 20 mins. Carefully open one bag and check if the chicken is cooked. Cook for 10 mins more if necessary.
Meanwhile, tip the remaining spinach mixture into a pot with the remaining chicken stock. Add a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 mins on gentle heat.
Present individual parcels for each person to unwrap at the table. Serve with bowls of spinach stew.
Sumac is a red spice mix that is used for its tangy taste. Available at Middle Eastern Stores.
Mountain Bread: a type of flatbread that is soft and thin like tortilla. It is available in most supermarkets in