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This dish has proved so delicious we’ve had it for dinner twice already this week and plan for another night with friends on Friday. Strictly speaking it isn’t as described as we substituted Pernod for Arak which was what we had to hand; you could also use Ouzo if you have some of this instead. The dish is bursting with flavour so some plain rice is all that’s needed on the side. Start ahead of time if you can so the chicken has time to marinate.

Roasted chicken with clementines & arak – to serve 4

  • 100ml Pernod (or arak or ouzo)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • 1.3kg chicken thighs (with skin and bone in)
  • 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced horizontally into ½cm slices
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2½ tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushe
  • salt and black pepper
  • chopped flat parsley, to garnish

Put the first six ingredients in a large bowl and add 2½ tsp of salt and 1½ tsp of black pepper. Whisk well.

Trim the fennel and cut each in half lengthways. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Add the fennel to the liquid, along with the chicken, clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Combine with your hands then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (or skip this stage if you don’t have the time).

Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas Mark 7.

Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large oven-proof tray that can hold everything in a single layer; make sure the chicken skin is facing up.

Put the tray in the oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is well browned and cooked through.

Remove the chicken, fennel and clementines from the tray and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquids into a small pan, place on a medium-high heat, bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by a third – you should have about 80ml left. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with some chopped parsley and serve with plain steamed rice.

Wine Suggestion: There’s lots of flavour going on in this dish so beware of going too neutral with the wine. A richer Vermentino from Sardinia would work well, where they have really mastered this grape.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012.)

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