In this dish, I love the colour from the sweet potato and squash, along with the freshness of orange and pomegranate and the crunch of pine nuts. I used tenderloins, to keep it healthier and because well, that’s what I had in the freezer, but using skin-on chicken thighs would be excellent too.
The use of za’atar in this recipe means you need to do little else to make a super tasty meal. My za’atar came from the Saucy Spice company, made locally in beautiful Bega. They have a stall at the Kingston Bus Depo markets on Sundays.
Za’atar is actually a middle eastern herb, but it is commonly known as a mixture of herbs and spices. It can be made from a variety of herbs (though oregano, thyme, sumac and sesame seeds are usually there). Mine has sumac, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sesame seeds and orange peel).
Za’atar chicken on a sweet potato & squash mash, with rocket, orange and pomegranate salad
- 450g chicken tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons (Tb) za’atar
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 1 Tb pomegranate molasses, or another strong syrup – I used reduced cherry syrup
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper to season
- 100 g rocket leaves
- handful snowpea sprouts
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chucks
- 2 medium yellow squash, cut into chunks
- 25 g butter
- 2 Tb cream
- 2 Tb pine nuts (toasted)
- ½ pomegranate, seeded
- 1 orange, peeled with all pith removed, cut into thin slices
- The day before, make a marinade for the chicken from the za’atar, salt and pepper, garlic, oil and cherry (or pomegranate) syrup. Place the tenderloins in a ziplock bag with the marinade, squidge it around a bit and leave in fridge overnight.
- Turn on oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced).
- Remove tenderloins from marinade and bake for about 30 minutes (turn half way through the cooking time).
- On a separate tray, roast the sweet potato and squash, doused in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, until tender (approximately 30 minutes).
- Once cooked, set aside the tenderloins to rest.
- Once cooked, remove the sweet potato and squash from oven and mash together with the butter and cream. Using a stick blender, blend until thick and saucy. Add more cream or some olive oil to make it smoother if required.
- Artistically smear the mash on a plate and place 3 to 4 tenderloins on top per serve.
- Garnish with the orange, rocket, snowpea sprouts, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds.