Before clementines and fennel bulbs disappear for the season, you’ve got to make this dish – if you haven’t already done so. It’s been around for a few years, and is one of my favorites from Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israeli chef whose recipes I go to when I have a yen for Middle Eastern food.
The combination of fennel and clementines, roasted at high temperature, along with the mustard and other ingredients, deliver an intense flavor to the chicken. I’ve taken a few liberties with the original recipe, replacing the Arak in favor of Sambuca, another anise flavored liqueur, and one that most Italian-Americans have in their pantry.
I also changed the quantities of some of the ingredients, adding more orange and lemon juice, for instance, to allow for more sauce to spoon over the chicken at the end, and to drizzle over rice or noodles you might like to serve on the side.
You’ll also notice I used chicken breasts in this recipe. Feel free to use legs or thighs, but always with the bone intact and the skin on. You could even use an entire small chicken, as Ottolenghi does, but if you do, make sure you increase the quantities of the other ingredients.
- For Two People:
- 1 large chicken breast, with bones and skin, cut into four pieces
- ¼ cup Sambuca, or any anise flavored liqueur
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ⅛ cup lemon juice
- 2 T. grainy mustard
- 2 T. light brown sugar
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into about eight pieces
- 2 clementines, sliced, with the skin on
- 1 T. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- salt, pepper, to taste
- fennel fronds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Mix the Sambuca, olive oil, orange and lemon juice, mustard and brown sugar and fennel seeds.
- Season the chicken pieces and fennel with salt and pepper and place in a lightly greased casserole. Scatter the clementine slices around, making sure that everything is in one layer. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken and fennel. If you have time, do this step ahead of time and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.
- Cook for about 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the skin is slightly charred. About ten minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, pour the rest of the marinade over everything and finish cooking. If it doesn't look "browned" enough, crank up the temperature to 500 degrees.