Msakhan is one of my favorite dishes, last week we I prepared msakhan to my family, they loved it even my kids. But when it comes to cooking, the kitchen turns into a mess. It requires someeffort and time until it is done, but it's worth the effort.
There are many Musakhan recipes, but I suggest to try these two recipes:
Musakhan Recipe I
- 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/ 2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup sumac
- 4 sheets marquq bread (see the Note below) or 2 large khubz 'arabi (Arabic flatbread or pita bread), split open and separated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the chicken into up into two breasts, two thighs, two legs, and two wings. Salt and pepper the chicken.
- In a large, deep casserole, heat 1/ 4 cup of the olive oil, then lightly brown the chicken on all sides over a medium heat, about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining 1/ 4 cup olive oil to the casserole and cook the onions until translucent, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sumac and cook for 2 minutes to mix.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Cover a 9 x 12-inch baking dish with two overlapping halves of the Arabic bread or 2 sheets of marquq bread. Spoon half the onions over each, then arrange the chicken on top of the onions and cover with the remaining onions and the juices from the casserole. Cover with the two remaining half leaves of bread or sheets of marquq bread, tucking in the sides crusty side up and spray with water. Bake until the chicken is very tender and almost falling off the bone, about 1 1/ 2 hours. Before the top cover of bread begins to burn, spray with water again or cover with aluminum foil.
Note: The size of marquq bread made and sold in the U.S. or Canada varies, so use common sense. It is sometimes found with its Armenian name, lavash bread.
Musakhan Recipe II
- 2 chickens, quartered
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 4 cups of olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups of pine nuts
- 8 onions, julienned
- 3 loaves of Arabic bread, split
- 1/4 cup of sumac
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and broil over charcoal or in the broiler of the oven.
- Brush frequently with olive oil.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat 1 cup of olive oil.
- When it is very hot, toss in the pine nuts.
- Turn off the flame and the nuts will begin to brown.
- When they are golden color, remove with a slotted spoon.
- Pour the remaining 3 cups of oil and onions into the pan
- Cook over low to medium-hot flame until soft and yellow.
- Remove and combine with the nuts.
- Open the pocket in the bread and split each loaf into two thin pieces.
- Turn off the flame and soak the bread in the hot oil for 2 minuts.
- Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Line a tray with bread, top with the chicken quarters and garnish with the onions and nut mixture.
- Sprinkle with Sumac.
- Place the tray under the broiler for a minute or two until the surface begins to color, and serve immediately.