“Toum, zait w haamid” is a phrase that one would tend to overhear repeatedly from mom while giving cooking advice to friends. In Arabic, Toum = Garlic, Zait = Oil (Olive Oil here), and Haamid = Lemon. This is a tangy-garlicky combination that is the flavoring base of many traditional Lebanese dishes, including the Baked Garlic Chicken and Potatoes featured in this post.
The success of this recipe is directly correlated to how well you make the garlic sauce. Traditionally the sauce is made by crushing garlic with a pestle in a wooden mortar while slowly adding the salt and olive oil thus turning it into a paste. And finally once you start adding the lemon juice all while continuing to stir and crush with the pestle, the paste turns into a beautiful sauce with a balanced garlic and lemon flavoring.
If you don’t have a mortar, using a food processor or blender gets you a good sauce as well. Make sure you use freshly squeezed lemon juice as it makes a difference. Finally an important note here is that if the chicken isn’t too fresh it tends to have a “chickeny” smell. So to help remove it, you can rub or soak the chicken in a bit of vinegar for a couple of minutes, then rinse them really well with cold water prior to baking. And after the chicken is cooked, and right before you add the garlic sauce, if you notice any excess liquids on the bottom of the tray scoop it out or drain it away as this is fat/water from the chicken that may ruin your dish.
Summary: A traditional garlic chicken dish from Lebanon.
Baked Garlic Chicken Ingredients (4 servings)
- 4 lbs of chicken legs/quarters/breasts
- 5 medium potatoes
- 20 cloves of garlic (or 1.5 heads)
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 table spoons of olive oil
- salt to taste
- A pinch of Lebanese 7-spices
- Vinegar (optional)
Baked Garlic Chicken Preparation Method
- Soak chicken in vinegar for 2 minutes (to help remove the “chickeny” smell), rinse them well with cold water then dry them with paper towels.
- Make cuts in chicken in order to allow for garlic sauce to seep deep inside.
- Rub chicken with a table spoon or two of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of Lebanese 7-spices.
- Peel potatoes then cut them in disks of about 1/2 inch, salt lightly.
- Place chicken on bottom of baking tray (preferably metal), place potatoes on top, and bake at 400F (medium heat) for about 40-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
- Meanwhile place the garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 table spoons of olive oil in a blender/food processor and spin for 4-5 minutes, add the lemon juice and spin for another 4-5 minutes until you have a nice lemony-garlicky sauce.
- Once the chicken has baked, take the tray out of the oven and very carefully drain any excess liquids/fat/water that you see on the bottom.
- Pour the garlic sauce all over it while mixing it well with the potatoes, put back in the oven and broil for another 5-10 minutes until the potatoes turn reddish
- Serve warm.
- Note: You may need to consume an unusually large quantity of toothpaste afterwards.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
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