Roasted Chicken with Clementines, Amongst Other Things

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A while back, I promised to share some recipes from Jerusalem, a belated discovery for me. And then I didn't. So here I am making an attempt again with two recipes that we've really enjoyed 1) Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Fennel and 2) Basmati Rice with Chickpeas and Fried Onions.

I also wanted to mention the husband who has been baking, and promising to share, hasn't been keeping  his commitment. First, he was supposed to write a post on scones, which he's made a couple of times now, and they are definitely worth mentioning.
And then, he was going to write a lengthy  entry on the wild boar ragu we made back in January, sharing photos of his co-worker who hunted the boar, and our attempts to figure out what to do with the meat. It was quiet the cooking adventure, which yielded a memorable meal featuring homemade pasta. But, since the post never came to be, I at least wanted to share a photo of the appetizing looking platter, before it was devoured. 
But getting back to Jerusalem, and it's many tempting recipes. So far we've been disappointed with nothing. There's a lot of flavor, which often means lots of ingredients, packed into each dish. The rice dish in particular has many steps (frying onions takes time), but it's all worth it. I've made it three times already, and it's always loved by the dinner guests.
Roasted Chicken with Clementines
via Jerusalem
6 1/2 tablespoons Arak (or Ouzo or Pernod)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange (or clementine) juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
3 tablespoons light brown sugar or honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin (I used mandarin oranges)
a few sprigs of thyme
2 to 3 medium fennel bulbs cut lengthwise and then into quarters
2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
optional garnish: parsley and fennel fronds

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together arak, oil, orange and lemon juices, mustard, brown sugar and salt. Season with pepper, to taste.

2) If roasting immediately: Place chicken skin side up in large roasting pan with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, onion pieces (or fennel wedges) and crushed fennel seeds (if using). Pour sauce over top and gently toss everything together with your hands.

If you are marinating: Place chicken with clementine slices, thyme sprigs, fennel pieces, and crushed fennel seeds (if using) in a large mixing bowl or ziplock bag. Turn several times to coat. Marinate chicken for several hours or overnight. I marinated my chicken for about 4 hours.

3) Preheat oven to 475 degrees. After 30 minutes, check on the chicken. If the skin is browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 400ºF and continue roasting until the skin is brown and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Remove pan from the oven. I had to flip the pieces at the center of my pan, so they would cook through.

4) Transfer chicken and clementines and fennel pieces with juices to a serving platter. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Or, proceed to the next step. 

5) Optional: Pour cooking liquid into a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce is reduced and you are left with about 1/3 cup. You can degrease by using a spoon to remove some of the fat from top of the sauce. Pour heated sauce over chicken. 

Basmati Rice with Chickpeas
via Jerusalem

1/3 cup wild rice (I’ve always subbed with purple sticky rice that was in my pantry, it adds a nice texture)
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 cups basmati rice
Scant 1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas (canned are fine)
3/4 cup sunflower oil (I used canola)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup currants (I couldn’t find currants in stores near me and used dried apricots)
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Start by cooking your wild or sticky rice, until the rice is cooked but still quite firm.  Drain and set aside.

2) To cook the basmati rice, pour 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into a medium saucepan with a tightly fitting lid and place over high heat.  Add the rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir as you warm up the rice.  Carefully add the boiling water, decrease the heat to very low, cover the pan with the lid, and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a clean tea towel and then the lid, and leave off the heat for 10 minutes.

3) While the rice is cooking, prepare the chickpeas.  Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and curry powder, wait for a couple seconds, and then add the chickpeas and 1/4 teaspoon salt; make sure you do this quickly or the spices may burn in the oil.  Stir over the heat for a minute or two, just to heat the chickpeas, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

4) Wipe the saucepan clean, pour in the sunflower oil, and place over high heat.  Make sure the oil is hot by throwing in a small piece of onion; it should sizzle vigorously.  Use your hands to mix the onion with the flour to coat it slightly.  Take some of the onion and carefully place it in the oil.  Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, then transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt.  Repeat in batches until all the onion is fried.

5) Finally, add both types of rice to the chickpeas and then add the currants, herbs, and fried onion.  Stir, taste, and season with salt and pepper as you like.  Serve warm or at room temperature.