For lo, these many years, I’ve been firmly in the Chicken Marbella camp at Passover.
If you haven’t made it yourself, I’m sure you’ve tried it: juicy poultry marinated in olive oil, copious amounts of garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, capers, olives, oregano and dried prunes.
I was in a bit of a Marabella rut until Yotom Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” was released to great acclaim. Leafing through the recipes—all stellar, by the way; if you don’t own this one, you must remedy that immediately—my eye caught on a photo of golden-brown chicken gilded with slices of bright orange, slightly charred clementines and wedges of roasted fennel. I was immediately hooked.
The dish debuted on my Passover table to great acclaim last year. The marinating of the bird, combined with the layering of citrus and anise flavors and high-heat cooking, produces an amazing alchemy that transforms the humble bird into a thing of beauty and real flavor. Try it yourself!
Ottolenghi’s Chicken with Clementines and Fennel
- 1/3 cup anise-flavored liqueur (Pernod, Sambuca, Ouzo or Arak will work)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 3-pound organic or free-range chicken divided into 8 pieces
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and then again into quarters (16 pieces total)
- 4 clementines, unpeeled, sliced horizontally into 1/4-inch wheels
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together liqueur, olive oil, citrus juices, mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Add chicken, fennel, clementine slices, thyme and fennel seed. Turn several times to coat. Cover and marinate in fridge, ideally for several hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, into a large roasting pan. Chicken should be skin side up. Place in oven and roast until skin is browned and chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven; lift chicken, fennel and clementines from pan and arrange on the serving plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Put remaining cooking liquid into a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce is reduced. Remove foil from platter and top with heated sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve.