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While I was in Jordan last year, I fell in love with the spice sumac, and brought a bunch back with me. It’s been great for humus or guacamole, but I’ve searched for a main course recipe for a while and finally found a great one. Read up on how to use the spice here.

This recipe involved some prep time (not much) the day before for the brining, but it’s totally worth it for how juicy the chicken ends up. Another addition is to roast veggies in the same pan as the chicken, so they pick up their juices. Roast potatoes, onions, or beats (which I used) all work great. While I haven’t tried it, this would also be a great contender for the grill, if I was allowed to have one 😦 Finally, if you don’t want to cook the entire chicken, feel free to cut the recipe in half. I bought two chicken breasts (with the rib bone attached) and proceeded from there.

Sumac-Roasted Chicken du Monde
Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food


  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder


  • 3-pound chicken, cut into two halves
  • 2 medium red onions (about 1 pound)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  1. The day before you plan to cook: Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Put the chicken in the pot and top with a plate, if necessary, to keep the chicken submerged. Refrigerate for at least 
6 hours or overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken: Heat the oven to 450°F and remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
  3. Peel and trim the onions, keeping as much of the root end intact as possible. Cut into 1-inch wedges, cutting through the root end so the layers stay connected. Put the onions and thyme in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the balsamic, and stir to combine.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine, dry off with paper towels, and rub with the olive oil. Sprinkle the sumac all over the chicken. Put the chicken halves skin side up in the pan, arranging the onions around them.
  5. Roast, stirring the onions occasionally, until the skin is golden and an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F at the deepest part of the chicken’s thighs, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a cutting board. Stir the onions so that they pick up some of the juices and browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste and add a sprinkle of salt if needed.
  6. To serve, spread the onions across the bottom of a serving platter and top with the chicken.