Friends, Mediterranean flavours and summer tales

Last weekend I had a delicious  dinner at a friend’s house. We ate in her lovely garden.
She introduced me to a new recipe, traditional Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, absolutely fantastic and quite easy to prepare.
From Ottolenghi’s cookbook “Jerusalem”, roast chicken with clementines and arak is a dish I will certainly add to my repertoire. It was a revelation.
Manageable, inspirational and mouth watering with this recipe you can celebrate the simple pleasure of home cooking.
The Israeli-British chef with Italian and German descent really scored!
I’m sure it’s his Italian “side” of him that created this tasty recipe!
My meal included brown rice and a healthy colourful array of green salad, ending up with a baked chocolate almond pudding.
Chicken, oranges, lemons, mustard, fennels, clementines, arak, fresh tymes leaves and parsely are the ingredients to create this unusual chicken dish.
All the flavours of the Mediterranean come together, juicy and crunchy.
Below the recipe from his cook book, which I have already ordered on line!
100ml arak, ouzo or Pernod
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grain mustard
3 tbsp light brown sugar
2 medium fennel bulbs (500g in total)
1 large organic or freerange chicken, about 1.3kg, divided into 8 pieces, or the same weight in chicken thighs with the skin and on the bone
4 clementines, unpeeled (400g in total), sliced horizontally into 0.5cm slices
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2½ tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
salt and black pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Put the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add 2½ teaspoons of salt and 1½ teaspoons of black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

Trim the fennel and cut each bulb in half lengthways. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Add the fennel to the liquids, along with the chicken pieces, clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well with your hands then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (skipping the marinating stage is also fine, if you are pressed for time).

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a baking tray large enough to accommodate everything comfortably in a single layer (roughly a 30cm x 37cm tray); the chicken skin should be facing up. Once the oven is hot enough, put the tray in the oven and roast for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken is coloured and cooked through. Remove from the oven.

Lift the chicken, fennel and clementines from the tray and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquids into a small saucepan, place on a medium-high heat, bring to the boil then simmer until the sauce is reduced by a third, so you are left with about 80ml. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with some chopped parsley and serve.
Thank you Georgina!

One Comment

  • Serena

    Thank you! This looks lovely and very appetising! I will certainly try it!

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