Roasted chicken with clementines & arak

Ingredients

  • 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
Roasted chicken with clementines & arak

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All the intense flavours lavished on the poor chicken – arak, mustard, fennel, clementines with their skins, brown sugar – somehow manage to come together in a sweetly comforting dish you will always want to come back to. Serve with plainly cooked rice or bulgar.

(p 179, Jerusalem)

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.