For Easter last week, my sister Lara and I decided to break from tradition and try something new. Instead of serving ham or lamb with potatoes and a basic vegetable, we chose to go with an Israeli inspired feast. I mentioned previously that this past Christmas my sister-in-law gave me the cookbook Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Now that I've made a handful of recipes from this book I can say with confidence that it is a great cookbook, I love it. Everything I've made has been absolutely fantastic.
We decided on the recipe for Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak for our main dish. The photo in the cookbook was mouth watering, and the ingredients didn't look too exotic so I thought it wouldn't be too scary for the less adventurous eaters in my family. The end result was outstanding, the flavors of fennel and clementine shined through in perfect balance in this beautiful and colorful dish.
This recipe really couldn't be simpler. Mix together a few simple ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight. The next day the work is minimal. Just throw it all in a big roasting pan and stick it in the oven. That's it. So easy and so good.
Once it comes out of the oven pour all the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce to make a nice flavorful sauce. Pour it over the cooked chicken and serve! You won't be disappointed.
And here's the entire feast. I thought it was an absolutely fantastic meal. Along with the chicken the rest of the menu included:
Fresh homemade pita
Spinach salad with prunes and almonds
Yogurt pasta salad with basil, pine nuts and feta
Simple rice pilaf
Clementine and almond syrup cake
Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Fennel
Slightly adapted from Jerusalem by Yottam Ottolenchi and Sami Tamimi
- 6 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine (or Arak, Ouzo or Pernod if you have it, I didn't)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into chunks
- 1 or 2 medium onions cut into chunks
- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (I used thighs and legs)
- 4 clementines (14 oz), unpeeled, sliced thin
- a few sprigs of thyme
- 1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wine, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add the fennel, onion, chicken, clementines, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well with your hands, then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (you can also skip the marinating step if you are pressed for time).
When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking sheet large enough to accommodate everything in a single layer. Place the chicken skin side up. Roast the chicken for 35 to 45 minutes, until colored and cooked through.
Life the chicken, fennel and clementines from the pan and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce is reduced by one third, so you are left with about 1/3 cup. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with parsley and serve.