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.
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 free-range 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.