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Musakhkhun is a traditional Palestinian chicken dish, a dish that one typically eats with one's hands and which literally means "something that is heated." It’s one of my favorites really. The original recipe uses chicken cut into 4 pieces, and arranged over round bread called Taboun bread topped with onion mix. In any case, the dish is seasoned with sumac, a spice made from the ground dried berries of a bush that grows wild throughout the Middle East and is sold in Middle Eastern markets. Sumac has a sour and vaguely lemony taste.
A new version of musakhkhan has evolved so it can be easly served and eaten in gatherings. The chicken is cooked; then wrapped in thin leaves of shrak or marquq bread, sold in many shops now, you might find it by an armenian name; lavash bread. Shrak bread is a thin whole-wheat bread baked on a domed griddle over an open fire, while marquq is a very thin yeasted flat bread. This bread can also be called saj, a bread cooked on a convex metal plate called a surj or saj, hence the name. All of these breads are stretched until very thin before being cooked.
Wash chicken with salt, lemon juice and vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes then rinse with water.
In a deep pot, add little vegetable oil, add the whole spices, over medium heat for just few seconds, then add chicken pieces, stir and leave for few min to dry the chicken liquids. Add 3 cups boiling water and leave over low heat to cook for 30minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep casserole, heat olive oil, add the onions with little salt, and cook until translucent, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sumac, chicken spices, nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon.
Take out the chicken, remove skin and bones and flake into small pieces. Add to the onion mixture, and cook for 2 minutes to mix. Add the fired pine nuts. Season with more salt and summac to taste.
Cut the bread to triangles or squares.Add some chicken mixture evenly on a centre of each piece of bread. Roll bread and place it in a baking dish.
Brush with some olive oil the top of each roll. Bake in a 230ºC preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until bread becomes golden brown in colour. Serve with cold yogurt.
Makes about 36-48 rolls, depending on the size your making them.
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