from one generation to the next
Each week for the last month I’ve scanned the local market stalls that sell citrus fruits desperately looking for blood oranges. It knew their appearance was imminent and I was impatient, simply because I wanted to make this delicious recipe for chicken pieces oven roasted with blood oranges, green olives and thyme.
You might remember me telling you about Diana Henry’s excellent book dedicated to chicken recipes called “A Bird In The Hand.” An asset on any cook’s bookshelf, it’s filled with a myriad of inspirational ideas for cooking a chook.
Blood ranges are relatively new in Australia. I remember my very first taste, in Italy, in 1997. I was hooked on the rich sweet and sour flavour instantly, but had to wait for a few years before enterprising Aussie growers began harvesting crops to take to market. Blood oranges have since became an annual late winter treat for me to enjoy in as many guises as possible.
This dish brought a little warm mediterranean sunshine to our table although you’ll hear no complaints about winter in Brisbane from me. The mild sunny days alone are responsible for the northward migration of retirees from Australia’s chilly southern states for the duration of the winter months.
Adapted from a recipe with the same name from “A Bird In The Hand” by Diana Henry, I made changes to her recipe so it complied with my FODMAP diet, a delicious dinner that’s the perfect balance of sweet, savoury, salty and herbal flavours.
Chicken with marsala, olives and blood orange
4 chicken marylands of good provenance
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bulb of fennel, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry Marsala **
3 blood oranges
8 sprigs of thyme
3 tablespoons good quality green olives
a little castor sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C fan forced.
Juice one blood orange and set aside.
Separate the legs from the thighs then season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow ovenproof pan that will contain the chicken in a single layer, then brown the chicken all over. When done, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add the sliced fennel and saute over a medium heat until it softens.
Deglaze the pan with the marsala.
Add the blood orange juice to the pan, then put the chicken on top, skin side up. Add any juices that have run from the chicken to the pan.
Add 6 sprigs of thyme.
Bring the juices in the pan to the boil then transfer it to the oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Cut the peel and pith off the remaining two oranges, then slice the fruit into thick slices, discarding any pips.
After 20 minutes, add the green olives and arrange the orange slices on top of the chicken.
Sprinkle the orange slices with a little sugar then return the pan to the oven for another 20 minutes.
The juices should be reduced, the orange slice caramelised and the chicken cooked.
Add the remaining sprigs of thyme.
Delicious served with dressed radicchio leaves.
** Dry Marsala can be tricky to find. Dry sherry makes an acceptable substitute.