Nothing brings me home like the sweet and savory flavor of an oven-roasted chicken cooked with a combination of fruit and vegetables. It reminds me of sitting at the table at Grandma’s house while trying to swallow down an impossible portion because she measured her love in food.
As you may already know, I’ve been cooking my way through Jerusalem and this dish competes for every other one I’ve made so far for the “best dish” in the book. This poor chicken is bathed in a sea of luxurious flavors, from a couple of shots of flavorful booze to fennel bulbs, a splash of lemon, whole clementines and then laced with a rustic infusion of fresh thyme. Just when you think you’ve rendered all the flavor you possibly could from this dish, as the chicken and vegetables gain a slight char, the recipe calls for a reduction of the cooking liquid for a more concentrated fruity gravy.
Adapted from JERUSALEM
- 6 tbsp of Arak (substitute Pernod or Ouzo)–I used bourbon actually, though it doesn’t have that anise flavor
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grainy mustard
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
Mix these 6 ingredients together in a bowl to make the marinade, and set aside.
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into wedges (about 6 cuts)
- 1 large chicken, cut into eight pieces (or just buy 8 chicken thighs w/ skin and bones)
- 4 clementines, UNPEELED, cut horizontally into 1/4″ pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tsp ground fennel seeds
- kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
- flat leaf parsley to garnish
Preheat oven to 475F.
In addition to the first six ingredients in the mixing bowl, add the sliced clementines with the chicken pieces and the fennel.
Pour the marinade over everything in the bowl and mix with your hands until everything is well coated.
Pour all into a large rimmed baking sheet or pan and sprinkle with the thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Everything should be snug, but sitting comfortably in a single layer, with the chicken skin side up.
Insert it into the preheated 475 F oven for 35-45 minutes until there is a slight char on the vegetables and the chicken.
When you take the chicken out, pour the cooking juice into a sauce pan on medium to high heat and reduce to about 1/3 cup. This will enhance the flavors. Move the meal to a serving dish, pour the liquid over it and serve.