Sumac (not the poisonous tree!) is a spice often found in Middle-Eastern cooking. It was, according to The Spice House, used for its tart, citrusy flavor before the Romans introduced the lemon to the region.
We used ground sumac to season a couple of Cornish game hens the other night for dinner (we just love having our own individual chickens!). A bit of white wine, salt, pepper, and two small lemons were the only other ingredients needed to roast the delicious hens which we served with a side of steamed white rice mixed with shredded carrots and chopped pistachios. Exotically delicious!
2 Cornish game hens
1/4 cup ground sumac
salt and pepper to taste
2 small lemons, halved
1 cup white wine
Sprinkle the hens with sumac, salt and pepper. Insert the halved lemons into the cavity of the hens and place in a roasting pan. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then increase heat to 400. Continue to roast another 15 minutes at 400 to brown the skin. Sprinkle with a pinch of additional sumac if desired.