Grilled Za’atar Chicken With Garlic Yogurt and Cilantro
This garlicky, herby chicken is full-flavored and very tender, thanks to its piquant yogurt marinade. It’s flexible, too — marinate the meat for as little as a couple of hours, or as long as overnight. And the chicken is just as good cooked under the broiler as it is on the grill (see Tip). You can serve this dish with almost anything, but it’s especially nice with pita or other flatbread and a big cucumber and tomato salad. And if you’re looking to substitute chicken breasts for the thighs, you can. Just watch them carefully; they’re likely to cook faster than the dark meat.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 6garlic cloves, finely grated, pressed, or minced
- 2lemons, zested
- 1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- ¼cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more sprigs for garnish
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 ½tablespoons za’atar, plus more for serving
- 1tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram, plus more sprigs for garnish
- 1 ¾teaspoons salt
- ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ¼pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Step 1In a large bowl or container, stir together 5 of the grated garlic cloves, half the lemon zest, 1/3 cup yogurt, the cilantro, oil, za’atar, oregano or marjoram, salt and black pepper. Add chicken and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Step 2When ready to cook, light the grill to medium or heat your broiler with the rack 3 inches from the heat source. Remove chicken from bowl, shaking off any excess marinade, and grill or broil on one side until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken and grill or broil for another 5 to 8 minutes, until just cooked through.
Step 3While the chicken is cooking, place remaining 2/3 cup yogurt in a small bowl. Stir in the reserve grated garlic clove and lemon zest, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut one zested lemon in half and set aside for serving (save the other zested lemon for another use).
Step 4To serve, place chicken on a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil and a large squeeze of the zested lemon. Top with cilantro and oregano or marjoram sprigs and serve with yogurt sauce.