Roasted Chicken with Clementines

chicken with clementines

Upon receiving Jerusalem early last summer, I poured through it cover to cover, reading about hummus wars and baba ghanoush, feeling inspired to start burning eggplants and preserving lemons with every turn of the page.

Every recipe and photo made me want to run to the kitchen, but six months later I’m only just enjoying my first real taste of the cookbook: roasted chicken with clementines, a recipe my mother has been urging me to make since the start of citrus season.

This recipe calls for high heat — 475ºF — for a long time — just under an hour — which allows the chicken skin to brown and the vegetables to caramelize beautifully. The liquid, a mixture of freshly squeezed citrus juice and some sort of anise-flavored liqueur (Arak, Ouzo or Pernod), keeps the chicken meat incredibly juicy below its crispy skin. Ottolenghi and Tamimi suggest serving this chicken with plain rice or bulgur, but the volume of slightly sweet, mustard-seed laced juices pooling below the chicken demands, in my opinion, lots of crusty bread.

The predominant flavor in this dish is anise, which comes into play from three sources: the liqueur, the fennel wedges, and the crushed fennel seeds. Anise can be overpowering when used in excess, and if it’s not your favorite flavor, you can tailor the dish to your liking, using onions in place of the fennel wedges and omitting the crushed fennel seed altogether. When made without fennel or fennel seeds, the anise-flavor is more subtle — preferable for me in fact — and while I haven’t tried substituting white wine for the liqueur, I suspect a more neutral-flavored alcohol would work just fine as well.

As the authors note in the preface of the recipe, this is a “sweetly comforting dish you will always want to come back to.” It’s festive and colorful, and with clementine season in full swing, there couldn’t be a better time to get this dish on your table.

What are you plans for the New Year? We’re lying low with a few friends, having one last hurrah with the punch, hoping not to get too sozzled, and looking forward to some good laughs while opening our 2013 resolutions’ jar. Wishing you all a very happy New Year!



seasoned chicken

sauced chicken

just cooked chicken with clementines

chicken with clementines

Roasted Chicken with Clementines

Roasted Chicken with Clementines

Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Feel free to take liberties with the ingredients here. I have made this using 6 tablespoons of clementine juice (versus 3 T. orange and 3 T. lemon), which worked just fine. The original recipe called for fennel bulbs (not onions), but I have used a mix of both fennel and onions, and I have also used leeks in place of the onions. The key is to use a large enough roasting pan that allows space between each piece of chicken. If the chicken is crowded together it won't brown properly.

Marinating overnight is not necessary though it's nice to know that you can assemble this dish ahead of time.

Also, all of the clementine pieces, as pretty as they appear, are not edible: the ones that are exposed (above the juices during the roasting) crisp up, becoming almost candy-like but bitter in taste; the ones that remain under the juices during the entire cooking process, however, are soft and delicious. I have not tried this, but it might be worthwhile to strategically arrange some of the clementine pieces under the chicken and juices.


  • 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 (a mix of thighs and drumsticks is nice)
  • 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced thin
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 to 3 medium onions (or fennel bulbs) cut lengthwise and then into quarters
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed (optional — I omitted; if you are unsure, maybe just use 1 teaspoon — 2.5 seems like a lot)


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

    • 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, onion pieces (or fennel wedges), 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.
  2. 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. I roast the chicken at 475ºF for 45 minutes and at 400ºF for 10 minutes, but every oven is different, so just keep an eye on it. Remove pan from the oven.
  3. Transfer chicken and clementines and onion pieces with juices to a serving platter. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Or, proceed to step 4, which I have never done.
  4. 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.

on the plate

Two Other Things:

1. Here is the latest post on Baking Steel: Alsatian Flatbread with Pear & Gorgonzola:

Alsatian Flatbread with Pears & Gorgozola

2. A ridiculously easy appetizer: Baked Camembert. There is no need to bake camembert, but I was flipping through my Martha Stewart Hors D’oeuvres Handbook and landed on the baked camembert recipe, and I couldn’t resist trying it over Christmas while my in-laws were in town. It’s cheating but kind of delicious, and if you are pressed for time, it takes no effort:

baked camembert


  1. Heather says

    Thank you thank you thank you for reading my mind and suggesting ways to adapt this recipe for those of us who don’t love anise. Love your recipes and can’t wait to try this. Have a happy new year!

    • says

      It’s funny how many people don’t like that anise flavor. When I just use the ouzo, the flavor is really subtle, which I like, but I need to try this with white wine next time. Happy New Year to you! Thank you for your kind words.

  2. says

    I love that we have the same taste in cookbooks! :) I just received Jerusalem as a Christmas gift and have been reading it every morning before work and night before bed… those photos! This and Turquoise will never leave my bookshelf.

    • says

      I know, those photos! Isn’t the book so beautiful? I have a hard time reading cookbooks before bed because I find they just wind me up, but it’s so hard not to read them, especially when they are like Jerusalem. Dying to try the hummus recipe. Hear it’s a good one. And yes, Turquoise…so beautiful!

  3. says

    I would agree with you on the fennel excess, and intend to make this dish tomorrow for our first dinner of 2014! I was unsure what to do, this seems perfect for us

    I will use wine or vermouth as the alcohol, because I cannot stand Ouzo or any of the other recommended, sorry Ottolenghi ;-0)

    A wonderful New Year for you, thanks for the constant inspiration, I don’t comment often, but I am always around….

  4. Wendy says

    Thank you for sharing your experience with this recipe! I’ve been considering it, too. Although my results have been uneven, the hummus from that cookbook (at least once!) has been the best I’ve ever tasted. Whipped and so full of tahini flavor. I’ve also made the cous cous with tomato. Mine “broke” when I flipped it, but was delicious. Happy New Year to you and your family. Thank you for filling my year with inspiration and wonderful recipes.

    • says

      I have heard about the hummus! I read about it on the genius recipe column of food52. I am dying to try it. Sounds like the perfect thing to have on hand while writing New Years’ resolutions. I have been eyeing that couscous with tomato recipe. Wondering how I might be able to adapt it this winter. Maybe with caramelized onions? Thank you for your nice comment. Happy 2014, Wendy!

      • Wendy says

        An update: I made that cous cous again, this time without tomatoes and with half a shallot and about 4 garlic scapes. Everything else stayed the same, and the result was more crispy with better browning. Let us know if you have success with caramelized onion. Nice pictures from Montreal! Such wonderful food in that city.

        • says

          I just received half a dozen garlic scapes in my CSA…so trying this. I have a sitter coming tomorrow morning. I might be making this for breakfast. Dumb question: did you chop and sauté the scapes as you would an onion? I haven’t cooked too much with them.

          And yes re Montreal! It was a blast.

          • Wendy says

            Yes, I chopped both into a very small dice and cooked in some oil until soft. I actually used a TB more oil than recommended, since I knew (without the tomatoes) there would be less liquid. I would also recommend adding a tiny bit more boiling stock/water to the cous cous or (unlike me) waiting the full 10 minutes for it to fully cook/steam. My end result was a bit crunchy, but we all liked it that way!

          • says

            Awesome, I’m going to try this tonight. Very excited! Will report back. Crunchy sounds good to me, but I will keep your advice in mind :)

  5. gourmet goddess says

    love your website, i always cook my chicken at 420F from beginning to end , and the chicken always comes out tender and super moist.

    i love adding citrus to chicken , it adds such a great depth of flavour. glad to read your comments how the exposed citrus becomes bitter – same thing happens when i add lemon wedges , i always thought they would be sweet and delicious .

    happy new year


  6. says

    Ahhh Jerusalem! I’m so glad you shared a recipe from the book! I received it for my birthday but hadn’t tried a single dish from it just yet until Christmas — my sister flew into town for the holiday, borrowed my book and turned our Christmas day dinner into an Ottolenghi feast. We made his Mejadra piled high with fried onions, pureed beets with za’atar and goat cheese, date and spinach salad, roasted butternut squash and red onions with tahini dressing, and a beautiful leg of lamb (that my mom raised herself last spring). We also made chai bruleed tarts for dessert (from his Guardian colomn). Later in the week we enjoyed chicken with cardamom rice, and lamb-stuffed eggplant… WOW! Amazing flavors, and not difficult food to cook.

    What I learned is that the cuisine is heavy on the spices. Cinnamon, cumin, cardamom in almost everything — all very different dishes with different combinations of spices, but a lot more spice than I am surely used to. I imagine the fennel application here is the same — it almost seems overpowering, and yet those strong flavors seem to be the theme. I can’t wait to try this dish! Thanks for sharing with us! Happy 2014 and I’m looking forward to many more wonderful recipes from you :)

    • says

      Wow, what a beautiful feast! Everything you made is making my mouth water, and I have now bookmarked all of the recipes. I have had my eye on that roasted butternut squash recipe, and I think I might just have to make it…so perfect this time of year!

      And you are right — Ottolenghi’s food is super flavorful and not difficult to cook. Now that I have made this chicken a few times, it comes together so fast.

      And I agree — the spices are a little bit more than I am used to, but there are so many interesting combinations, and it’s fun to experiment/branch out. Happy 2014 to you, Sophie!

  7. Dee G says

    I received Jerusalem last year and have done quite a few of the recipes — here are 3 not to be missed: Swiss Chard Fritters – amazing and flexible as to greens; Prawns, Scallops and Clams in Tomato with Feta – unusual combo and delicious plus you can make most in advance so a really nice option for dinner party (I did this as part of a 7 fishes feast on X-mas Eve); and the Almond Clementine cake in the dessert section (be sure to do the chocolate ganache on top.) The basmati rice dish with crispy onions is also very fine… Happy New Year!

    • says

      Oh my, so many recipes to try! I am drooling over all of those recipes and writing up my grocery list now. I wished I had made that clementine cake for Xmas but I suppose I still have a long clementine season to look forward to. I will definitely do the chocolate ganache on top — I love orange and chocolate together. Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions…you always have the best ideas! Happy 2014 to you!

  8. Juia says

    I made this last night and it was great! Next time I will keep it in the fridge overnight for stronger flavor. I subbed in chicken stock for the ouzo and white wine vinegar for the lemon juice has that’s all I had in the pantry. Very tasty! Having the left overs for lunch today.

    • says

      Nice! So happy to hear that stock/vinegar made fine substitutions. I am trying this with white wine this week, too. If I am organized, I will marinate, too. We found the leftovers to be particularly tasty.

  9. DK says

    Made this tonight with small oranges and LOVED it. I was worried about it being too sweet, but it came out tender and delish. Made the reduction sauce. It’s worth it. Do it.

  10. Lenora says

    It is very cold here. Bitter brutally cold. When I read this recipe it seemed perfect cure for the winter blues and was a lot cheaper than jumping on a plane and heading for Costa Rica. Seeing those photos of sunny cheery clementines and having the oven on at 475 became a necessity. Plus there was the added mood enhancing bonus of sipping Arak while making dinner!

    I used the mix of fennel and onion. I did use a teaspoon of anise seeds but I love anise (see arak comment above). As you mentioned … very important to keep a watch on the chicken. My oven browned it much quicker than the directions and I had to turn it down. I didn’t have enough liquid to reduce. Definitely going to marinate the chicken overnight the next time.

    The chicken was such a hit that if I were to make it for company I’d double it … 3 adults were fighting over who had what and “that’s my chicken thigh” was heard.

    • says

      You are funny! Where did you find Arak? I haven’t been able to find it. You are the first to say that you actually like anise…yay! I like it, too, but I do shy away from too much anise flavor. Glad you kept an eye on the chicken — every oven is different, and mine seems to behave differently every time :)

      So glad it was a hit! There have been fights over thighs here, too :) Thanks for writing in!

  11. Jennifer says

    I bought Jerusalem last summer (haha! That sounds funny. Yes, I’m super wealthy! Not!) and have only drooled over the book, not the food. Thanks for providing a place to begin. We love fennel and anise, so I am going for it!
    Best regards and Happy New Year!
    Jennifer in KS

  12. Sunie says

    Loved it! I didn’t have ouzo or pernod and chose not to use the anise seed, and used half fennel and half red onion on which I propped the chicken.
    My husband usually doesn’t like to combine meat and fruit and/or sweet, loved it and wanted leftovers for lunch.
    This is definitely a keeper!

  13. Katie says

    Do you think this would work in the crockpot? I work long hours and would love for this to be ready when I came home. Thanks!

    • says

      I think that is a brilliant idea. I am not so skilled with my crockpot yet, but I bet if you google a “slow-cooker caramelized onion recipe”, you will find some direction. The soup comes together in minutes once the onions are caramelized.

  14. Orewa says

    I am dying to make this, but where can I get Arak, Ouzo or pernod, what section is it usually at grocery stores? Is this meditaranean?

    • says

      You can find Ouzo and Pernod at most liquor stores, but if you can’t, you can use white wine or Madeira or Sherry. The recipe comes from the book Jerusalem. It’s really yummy! I hope you make it.

  15. liz e says

    I made this recipe with white wine and onions and simply used a small handful of crushed anise seeds to preserve the prescribed flavor. It came out perfectly juicy and had plenty of flavor for our table. I imagine there is quite a bit of leeway on this one; I marinated the whole bunch of ingredients in a big Ziplock the night before. It made for easy, yet impressive entertaining with the pretty pop of clementine color.

    Thanks for sharing!
    liz e.

  16. Kooks says

    is there a non alcoholic substitute that I can use perhaps? We don’t use alcohol at all. Looking forward to making this dish looks amazing

  17. Tom Mills says

    This dish has become a mainstay for entertaining at our house. In fact, at my last birthday (one of the BIG ones), I enlisted 15 of my friends to use a recipe of my choosing to create a potluck- without the luck- feast. All recipes came from Jerusalem or Plenty (another Ottolenghi book; equally gorgeous, but veggie only) with the exception of Persian Jewelled Rice, which I conjured from various recipes and memory. We gorged on 10 fabulous dishes from hors d’ouvers to desert. Everyone raved!
    If you haven’t tried this food, get started; it’s a blast!

    PS. To Kook,
    The alcohol in the chicken dish will not survive- it will completely evaporate, while leaving you the flavour that can only be eeked out by this process, by the time you consume the food.

  18. Deborah says

    I used Sambucca and it was fine. Have made this twice now and will certainly make it again. Great tip about keeping the clementines submerged — thanks!

  19. Olga says

    Delicious recipe, and so useful to see the variations. Grazie! The book Turquoise you mention, is it titled, “Turquoise: A Chef’s Journey Through Turkey” by Greg and Lucy Malouf?

  20. Olga says

    I meant to also add that I used our local Tuscan white (Vermentino) from the Maremma coast. Made the chicken for our Sunday lunch today. It was eccellente!

  21. Dee G says

    I’m commenting again. I just made this dish again following your suggestions. First time I did as per recipe and noted in the book “easy and quick but MUST love fennel”. It was not a hit. This time I used absinthe (6Tbs.) and omitted any other fennel flavoring. He didn’t include garlic either and I believe that addition was very helpful. I followed your suggestion about putting some of the clementine slices under the chicken. Turned out spectacular! Perfect variations on his theme. FYI – served it over cauliflower puree – steamed then processed with a bit of yogurt/dill/mustard sauce I used on fish last night. A lovely foil and I challenge anyone to guess it’s not potato. Happy V-day!

    • says

      Dee, this sounds so good! All of it — cutting back on the fennel (I find it overwhelming, too), adding garlic, the cauliflower puree — yum! I love a cauliflower purée but I’ve never made one quite so interesting sounding. Happy V-Day to you as well!

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