A Fruitful Zest for Aroma

 Orange comes from citrus family and where I come from it is considered as the citrus belt of India. The northeastern region of India is very suitable for citrus crops. So, we had them in abundance during season. We had them raw or added to our salads. My mother preserved them as marmalades or turned them into the most delicious cakes which we had with tea during our afternoon siesta. Drying the orange rind was something I remember my grandmother would do during sunny winter mornings. On weekends or winter breaks me and my cousins would sit under the afternoon sun and enjoy them by plenty. Food has such a strong connection with memories and most of the ingredients I use have some memory attached to them. And I try to recreate the memory with magic of ingredients.

Cooking fruits with meat is not common in our household. However, travelling and getting a taste of different cuisines helped me develop a palate for new things. Experimenting with flavours is what I absolutely love doing and that comes from curiosity. So, I do try out different permutations and combination of meats, fruits and herbs. One such combination – orange and chicken happens to be our absolute favourite.

Now when it comes to herbs I prefer fresh herbs. I used fresh rosemary in this dish. Rosemary cuts through the sweetness of orange and together with garlic it gives out an aroma that leaves me hungry for more. I have used chilli flakes along with black pepper for the extra kick and it also keeps you warm.

With Christmas around the corner I wanted my house to revel in the aroma……and what could be better than the smell of baked chicken and rosemary. Its just the perfect dish for your Christmas dinner table.


Crispy baked orange and rosemary chicken

Course:  main or side
Cuisine: English
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
INGREDIENTS
Chicken thighs  500 g (skin intact)
Orange juice 120 ml. (fresh or bottled)
Orange    1 (zested and sliced)
Orange marmalade  1 and 1/2 tbsp.
Rosemary (fresh) 2tbsp. + 1/2 tsp.
Garlic  3 cloves (minced)
Chili flakes  1/2 tsp.
Black pepper 1/4  tbsp.
Chicken stock 1/2 cup
Olive oil   2 tbsp.
METHOD
  1. Marinade the chicken with salt, pepper, rosemary, paprika and leave for 25-30 mins. Preheat oven at 180-degree celsius for 10 mins.
  2. Heat a pan, add olive oil and cook the chicken skin side down till it turns golden brown on both sides, then take it off.
  3. Add garlic to the pan add, marmalade, juice, zest, chilli flakes and stock. Bring it to a boil and bring it to your desired consistency. Add the rest of the chopped rosemary.
  4. Arrange the chicken pieces in an ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce. Arrange slices of orange if desired and bake for 20 mins.

Note: let the sauce thicken a bit because while baking juices running out of the chicken will dilute it.

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