Chicken Sauté with Middle-Eastern Flavors



By Cat, June 2008 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Poultry & Fowl Menu; 2. Ethnic Foods: Mediterranean Menu; 3. Mediterranean Meza Menu

I learned to love Middle Eastern food while living in Portland. When I was in graduate school at Portland State University, many of my fellow students were from Lebanon and Persia (Iran, but they preferred we call it Persia), part of an immigration spike from the Middle East. Portland also has a good-sized Greek community.

I love the combination of spicy flavors in Mediterranean cuisine; this recipe can be served as an entree or a salad.

Chicken Sauté with Middle-Eastern Flavors

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking’s recipe: Chicken Sauté with Lemon, Cumin & Parsley. It is very quick to make if you use boneless-skinless chicken. However, I buy my chicken whole and cut it up, so mine starts on the bone, and I use a brined breast, 2 drumsticks and 2 thighs to serve 4, or as written to serve 2.

The original suggests serving this on top of wilted spinach with crusty bread on the side, but I like to serve over rice with wilted spinach on the side, and warm pita bread. It can also be served as a salad (see Serving Suggestions, below).

Serves 2.


Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 – 2 brined boneless half-breasts (8 – 10 oz, total)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt (only if chicken is not brined)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Equipment:
  • bowl for brining
  • cast iron skillet


  1. Prep: Brine breast, then rinse. If not boneless, remove meat from bone. Cut into 1/2” thick strips.
  2. Grate zest of lemon to make 1/2 tsp, then juice lemon to make 1 Tbsp juice. Set aside.
  3. Slice onion thinly, crosswise; smash and peel the garlic but don’t mince.
  4. Cook: Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently about 5 minutes until onion begins to soften.
  5. Add chicken, zest, cumin, and pepper; add salt if chicken was not brined. Cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through, 4 –  6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and reserved lemon juice. Adjust seasoning.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve over lightly braised spinach (just enough to wilt), or over rice with the spinach on the side.
  • Accompany with pita or other bread, and a salad of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, brined olives, & onion with Mediterranean vinaigrette or a yogurt sauce (Greek Yogurt Sauce or Lebneh).
  • Or this can be served as a salad, arranging the cooked chicken mixture over a bed of lettuce and arrange raw veggies of your choice around the chicken. Top with Greek Yogurt Sauce or Lebneh).


  1. Fine Cooking recipe (

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