Sumac Chicken Casserole

This is my brother Eli’s take on a popular dish called djej bel furn (chicken in the oven). It exudes simplicity and home comfort and requires only a little bit of preparation before everything goes in the oven.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


  • 4 chicken legs
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered
  • 2 potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, crown sliced off and bulb halved
  • 1 onion, quartered 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Undressed Herb Salad or White Cabbage Salad, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Put the chicken legs in a large roasting pan with the fennel, potatoes, garlic and onion. Drizzle over the oil and season with the sumac, allspice, salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and toss well.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through: the juices from the chicken should run clear when the thickest part of a thigh is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. The vegetables should be soft.
  3. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, change the oven setting to grill/broil or heat a separate grill/broiler and move the pan into it. Grill/broil the chicken for 5 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy. Squeeze over lemon juice to taste and serve with a salad.