January in the Kitchen – Quick Roast Chicken with Citrus, Sumac, and Pomegranate

Roast Chicken with Citrus, Sumac and Pomegranate

This recipe is Florida in the middle of winter…sunny citrus, bright sumac, and pomegranate. It’s a winning combination and one that tugs at memories for me. Just out of college I moved from warm and sun-drenched Florida to New York in mid-January. It was quite a shock on many levels; living in a one-bedroom apartment with four other young women, the high cost of food, cold, and worst of all…no citrus. I grew to love New York, but citrus remained out of my price range at the local markets. My parents had seven trees of different varieties in their back yard in Florida. They were unusual varieties, the kind you don’t find in the store because they don’t ship well, the kind that were especially delicious. I craved them. The highlight of that first winter was the box of citrus shipped from home (at great expense). I was a good roomie and shared.

I didn’t spend much time cooking back then, but I would have loved this recipe.

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Pomegranate and Citrus

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Pomegranate and Citrus

If you are not familiar with sumac (it’s new to me and I am still experimenting), it’s related to poison ivy but won’t give you a rash. The powder I found at my local spice shop is staghorn sumac and is not poisonous. The berries are dried and ground before being sold. I have read that some companies add salt to their sumac, so read the package before you purchase it.



Sumac adds a lovely red color to food and is considered a “flavor enhancer”. It has a tart, berry, and lemony flavor and can be used in place of lemon when you want the flavor without the acid of citrus. It is known to have antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities as well as helping with digestion.

Sumac is most often used in Middle Eastern cooking. It’s a major part of the spice mix Za’atar, and sometimes used in fattoush and tabbouleh.

Chicken brush

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
Sumac, pomegranate brush for chicken

Sumac, pomegranate brush for chicken

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 tangerine
  • ½ lemon
  • fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary
  • 4 leg-thigh chicken quarters
  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F (very hot)
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
  3. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce or brush.
  4. Wash the citrus and then thinly slice it using a sharp knife or mandolin; you want slices about ¼ inch thick or less. Remove any seeds.
  5. Lay the citrus on the baking sheet. Try not to overlap the slices.
  6. Cut the legs from the thighs, making two pieces
  7. Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the citrus slices.
  8. Brush the chicken with the sauce.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is brown and cooked, and the citrus is caramelized.
  10. Serve with the citrus; the carmelized citrus is delicious, skin and all.
Roast Chicken with Sumac, Pomegranate and Citrus

Roast Chicken with Sumac, Pomegranate and Citrus

I think Angie at the Novice Gardener and her friends at Fiesta Friday will like this one.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

17 thoughts on “January in the Kitchen – Quick Roast Chicken with Citrus, Sumac, and Pomegranate

  1. That is a lovely sauce and I can’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, we have no oranges growing here, but tonnes of sumac. I have some drying in a dehydrator now to make the powder, and some soaking to make a drink. I love to see other people are using and promoting it.

  2. Sumac!! I love the tartness of Sumac and this sounds a perfect dish to me. Thank you for sharing this dish, Liz and happy FF. You will be here next week for FF’s first anniversary, yes? 😀

  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #51 | The Novice Gardener

  4. I just started to use sumac last year or at least I do not remember using it before. Great looking dish Liz and I am sure all of the party goers at Angie’s party will love this recipe. Happy Fiesta Friday #51 🙂

  5. Lovely! I just wrote to Hilda (who also shared a FF post about sumac) that I bought some sumac this summer to make Middle Eastern kebabs, but haven’t used it since…. terrible, I know. Pairing it with citrus seems like a natural combination! Great!

  6. I’ve never used Sumac, but have Zaa’tar- might try that. Also, I have pomegranate molasses– usually I try to do the first iteration “as written”- but I might branch out- will let you know how it goes.

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