My new Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi enchants and entices me on every page. Somehow the authors manage to transform traditional and familiar dishes from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine into even more delicious, vibrant, and novel flavor combinations. We had the roasted chicken with clementines last night (substituting ouzo for arak), and it was sensational! The recipe heaps on intense anise seasonings from fennel, fennel seed, and the anise-scented liquor, but in the roasting process, it imparts just a subtle anise note with an enormous punch of wowing flavor. My tastebuds were dancing at each bite of tender and delicious chicken — slightly charred but moist — the softened fennel, the hints of thyme, and the delightfully bittersweet slices of clementines, peel and all.
I do have one quibble with the recipe: there seems to be a typo in the recommended temperature setting, which says “475 F/ 220 C.” I’m guessing that the higher setting of 475 F is correct, which would correspond to roughly 250 C! I set my European oven to 220 C, and it wasn’t until I checked my chicken at the end of my 40-minute roasting when I realized something was amiss — the chicken didn’t have nearly as nice a blackened char as the cookbook photo shows, and it wasn’t quite cooked-through. So I had to continue to to roast it (and cranked up the heat a little toward the end) for another 20 minutes or so, which reduced the cooking liquid to almost nothing (a shame since it was so delicious!). Luckily, with the exception of some quartered breast pieces I used, the chicken itself (mostly thighs and drumsticks) remained moist and the longer cooking time yielded a better char. Next time I will use only chicken thighs & drumsticks and set the heat at 250 C; I might also make more of this flavorful sauce. It would make a great dish for entertaining, since most of the work is done when the chicken goes in the oven.
I had heard so many wonderful reviews of Jerusalem, and I’m thrilled to have it finally in my collection. My temperature mishap aside, the recipe delivered on my high expectations, and I can’t wait to try more of these seductive dishes!
Jerusalem Roasted Chicken with Clementines & Ouzo
(Adapted from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem)
Laura’s Note: The recipe calls for arak, a Middle Eastern spirit imbued with a delicate anise flavor; the authors recommend ouzo or pernod as equivalent substitutes. For those averse to anise flavoring, you might want to try vodka or vermouth.
- 6 tbsp / 100 ml ouzo
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grain mustard
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 medium fennel bulbs (1 lb / 500 g in total), trimmed and cut into about 8 pieces
- 1 large organic or free- range chicken, about 2 3/4 lb / 1.3 kg, divided into 8 pieces,or the same weight in skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
- 4 clementines, unpeeled (14 oz / 400 g in total),cut horizontally into 1/4-inch/0.5cm slices
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
- Prepare the marinade ahead of time: Whisk together the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper. Set aside.
- Add the fennel and chicken pieces, clementine slices, thyme, and fennel seeds to the marinade and stir well. Cover and place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to marinate.
- Preheat the oven to 475°F /
220°C250 C. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, and its marinade to a large baking sheet or roasting pan (you’ll want everything spread out in one layer). Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is browned and charred in places and cooked through; remove from the oven.
- Scoop out the chicken, fennel, and clementines from the pan and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, simmer and reduce to about 1/3cup / 80 ml. Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with some parsley, and serve.
January 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm
I LOOOOOVE that book!!!!!!
January 22, 2014 at 10:51 am
Right?! I am loving every single page! Ottolenghi and Tamimi are geniuses.
January 22, 2014 at 11:22 am
Aren’t they??? I remember when I was first introduced to Ottolenghi and my sister in law took me to his restaurant in London. I’d never heard of him or it, but it was like walking into my food heaven! 😍
January 22, 2014 at 11:28 am
Wow, how was the restaurant? What did you eat? I’d love to experience that!
January 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm
I can’t remember now but it was a haven for a vegetarian with a love of middle eastern flavours! I think that might be what first drew me to the wonders of butternut squash 👍
January 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm
Yes, I see he uses a lot of butternut squash! I have his book opened now to Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar. So beautiful.
January 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm
YUM!!!!!!!!!!! I realise now how much he influences my daily meals: tahini sauce with everything!!
January 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm
I love Jerusalem, going to start cooking my way through. I love the dish you made, the flavors are so intense and very Mediterranean. Lovely.
January 22, 2014 at 10:54 am
Thanks, Suzanne. I’m so happy to hear you love the cookbook too and will be cooking your way through it. I hope you’ll share your experiences from it and we can compare notes. I think this one will have a lasting influence on me for sure.
January 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm
Ooh, I like the sound of the clementines with the chicken. Great!
January 22, 2014 at 10:56 am
Yes, they were scrumptious together – I really never thought I’d be eating roasted clementine peels but they were amazing! A really unique flavor got infused into the chicken too!
January 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm
I want that book! i recently bought “Plenty” and “Ottolenghi, the cookbook”…. I am sure Jerusalem is as inspiring 🙂
January 22, 2014 at 10:59 am
Oh, let me know how you like “Plenty” and “Ottolenghi” – I want those too, ha! You would love Jerusalem, it’s a really diverse mix of mezze, entrees, desserts, even pickles and condiments. I’m really enjoying my first foray into Ottolenghi’s (and Tamimi’s) cooking, so inspiring, as you say 🙂
January 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm
If you prefer a book with everything from mezze to desserts, you should really buy “ottolenghi”… you can read my review of the 2 books on my blog 🙂
January 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Beautiful Recipe and Photos! I can’t wait to get his book! 🙂
January 22, 2014 at 11:00 am
Thanks, Shanna! Yeah, the book is amazing!
January 23, 2014 at 4:37 pm
I ordered it on Tuesday! Can’t wait! 🙂
January 19, 2014 at 5:52 pm
I love, love this book and must buy my own and give my friends back to her! This dish is awesome…you have made it beautifully!
January 22, 2014 at 11:02 am
Thanks! So happy to hear you’re an admirer of this cookbook too, it’s just so refreshing and innovative, yet inspired by traditional regional cuisine. Definitely a great addition to one’s collection.
January 23, 2014 at 1:47 am
So glad you did it! How delicious, right? I love this book. It changed the way I cook and think about food. This was one of my favorite recipes.
January 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Yes, delicious! I think it’s totally changed my approach to cooking and food too 🙂
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October 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm
My oven must run hot because my clementines were burned to a charcoal crisp and the sauce was totally burned off. I will double the sauce next time and keep a very careful eye on the oven.