For someone who only roasts chicken by the “low and slow” method followed by a “high and fast” step, trying this recipe from Jerusalem cookbook was quite a change: the pieces are blasted at 475F from start to finish. They advise to check the state of the skin after 30 minutes, and reduce the temperature slightly in case it’s darkening too fast. I was curious to see how our Supernova handled this challenge. but it cruised through the test! All pieces were nicely and homogeneously browned, the meat cooked to perfection. This is a super festive dish, perfect for entertaining.
Jerusalem is one of the many cookbooks sitting on my bookshelf, but my inspiration to make this dish was a post from “Alexandra’s Kitchen” , a blog I love! You can read, and print her version of this recipe (which I followed) by jumping here.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH CLEMENTINES: An outline
This is a simple but unique treatment of chicken pieces. A flavorful marinade is prepared with a mixture of arak (or ouzo), honey, orange, lemon juice and spices. You can use a whole chicken cut up, or go for chicken thighs as I did. The main flavor will be fennel and anise. Reading Alexandra’s blog as well as a few other sources in the net, it became clear that if you are not a fond of anise, better modify the recipe. It turns out that I absolutely despise ouzo (as well as Pastis, which brings a sad tale to my mind that shall be told some other time), so I used dry Vermouth instead. I also added only 1 teaspoon of fennel seed instead of 2 + 1/2 as originally called for. It turned out perfect for us.
The clementine slices add a lot visually to the dish, but I did not care for their texture, even the ones that cooked protected from direct heat seemed a bit bitter and tough to me. They release a lot of juice and flavor into the sauce, so even if you don’t eat them in the end, no big deal.
After the chicken is roasted, the sauce is transferred to a saucepan, reduced almost to a glaze, and poured over the meat on the serving dish. You might be tempted to skip this step. Do not. It is one of those details that take a dish from great to spectacular, trust me on that…
Additional comments: Probably one of the reasons this recipe works so well with intense heat from beginning to end, is the fact that the pieces are surrounded by quite a bit of liquid during roasting. The final texture is perfect, and the sauce tastes amazing, a powerful kick of fennel and the sweetness of clementines pairing with it. If you like anise flavor, go for Ouzo or, if you can find (and afford it), opt for the more authentic Arak.
I know that most people associate recipes from Jerusalem exclusively with Ottolenghi, so I made a point of including Tamimi on the title of my post. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves for being the co-author of such an amazing cookbook.
This dish was our first dinner in the year 2014, and I thank Alexandra for the inspiration. It was a perfect meal to launch the New Year!
ONE YEAR AGO: Eight-Ball Zucchini: The Missing Files
TWO YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons
THREE YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch
FOUR YEARS AGO: Ossobuco Milanese: an Italian Classic