This is a fantastic Yottam Ottolenghi recipe from his beautiful book Jerusalem. The recipe is based on his Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak.
As is my want, I have made some variations to the dish, through personal pereference or, in the case of the clementines, because I couldn’t get them!
I loved the idea of the sweet clementines cooked with the chicken, but, as we don’t have clementines readily available in Australia, I used mandarins instead. They worked really well! They cooked down to a sticky softness. I’m not a big fan of anything aniseed , so I used cumquat brandy instead of an aniseed liqueur. An orange liqueur, or brandy, would be fine too. For the same reason, I substituted shallots for the fennel bulbs. I also cut down on the sugar in the recipe.
100ml orange liqueur or any good brandy. I used a lovely home made cumquat brandy I had on hand.
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grain mustard
1.5 tbsp light brown sugar
8 chicken thighs with the skin and on the bone
4 mandarins unpeeled, sliced horizontally into slices (or clementines if yuo can get them)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
Salt and black pepper
Put the liqueur/brandy, olive oil, orange and lemon juices, musard and brown sugar in a large bowl with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.
Peel the shallots and add to the bowl, with the chicken pieces,manadarin/clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well to make sure the marinade covers the chicken pices.
Leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking dish that’s large enough to fit everything in a one layer. The chicken should be skin-side up.
Put the baking dish in the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is brown and cooked through. Remove the dish from the oven.
I served the chicken straight from the baking dish at the table. There was a lot of lovely juice, so I served the dish with lots of wild rice. Couscous would be great too.
The original recipe says to remove the chicken, mandarin/clementine slices and shallots to a serving plate, while you reduce the cooking liquid in a small saucepan. The sauce is then poured over the chicken.
Up to you – it’s a really delicous dish either way!