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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Clementines and Arak
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Clementines and Arak Photos courtesy of Jonathan Lovekin

We are wild about rustic Italian food, adore the assertive flavors of authentic Asian cuisine and appreciate the finesse of fine French cooking. We would never have broadened our culinary explorations to Jerusalem, however, were it not for Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. In their aptly titled new cookbook, Jerusalem, the authors explore the culturally diverse cuisine of their birthplace--and prove that there’s more to it than baba ghanoush and hummus. After spending a leisurely afternoon with the beautiful book, we decided to dive in by making this aromatic roasted chicken. Served with cooked rice or bulgur, it’s a sweetly comforting weekend meal.

Makes 4 servings

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons arak, ouzo or Pernod

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons orange juice

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium fennel bulbs (about 1 pound), trimmed

1 large chicken (preferably free-range and organic)

4 clementines (about ¾ pound), unpeeled and cut horizontally into ¼-inch slices

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed

Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the arak with the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, mustard and brown sugar. Whisk in 2½ teaspoons salt and 1½ teaspoons black pepper and set aside.

2. Halve the fennel lengthwise and cut each half into 4 wedges. Add the fennel, chicken, clementines, thyme and fennel seeds to the bowl. Stir well with your hands, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. (It’s fine to skip the marinating if you’re pressed for time.)

3. Preheat the oven to 475°. Transfer the chicken, fennel, clementines and marinade to a roasting pan large enough to accommodate everything in a single layer; the chicken skin should be facing up. Roast the chicken for 35 to 45 minutes or until it is browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken, fennel and clementines to a serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 8 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

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