Start to finish: 50 minutes
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern blend of herbs and sesame seeds; look for it in well-stocked markets, Middle Eastern grocery stores or online. We mix za’atar with dried oregano to boost its herbal flavor. Use chicken breasts, legs, thighs or a combination.
Don’t use a roasting pan. The low sides of a sturdy rimmed baking sheet allow the chicken to cook quickly and brown evenly.
3 tablespoons za’atar seasoning
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1¼ teaspoons white sugar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, trimmed and patted dry
10 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus ¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, combine the za’atar, dried oregano, sugar, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.
2. Place the chicken parts on a rimmed baking sheet and evenly season both sides with the za’atar mixture. Place the garlic cloves in a single layer down the center of the baking sheet, then arrange the chicken parts, skin up, around the garlic; this prevents the garlic from scorching during roasting.
3. Roast the chicken until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh/leg (if using) reaches 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. The meat should show no pink when cut into. Transfer the chicken to a platter; leave the garlic on the baking sheet.
4. Using a fork, mash the garlic to a paste on the baking sheet. Carefully pour ⅓ cup water onto the baking sheet and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and whisk in the lemon zest and juice, oil and fresh oregano. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce with the chicken.