Clementine Roasted Free-Range Chicken

I am slightly obsessed with this cookbook, Jerusalem. Some of the pages are stained from use with various sauces and splatters, a sign of a well-used cookbook . In it I just happened to notice one detail that has literally changed the way I cook free range chicken.

by Yottam Ottolenghi

by Yottam Ottolenghi

 

For the first time in January I cooked a true free range bird we raised here at home on pasture. These birds are large, long-legged, lean and just a little different than the chickens you can buy at the grocery store. Free range birds have more dark meat, making them more flavorful. The legs on our birds are about twice the length of a grocery store bird, but the breasts are smaller.  Contrast that to a typical bird sold in American grocery stores, raised in a warehouse that is pumped with antibiotics, growth hormones, and  grain, so that they grow super fast with zero exercise. This results in near-non-existent leg muscles, more fat, and large breasts. They usually cannot hold heir own weight up on their weak little legs. It’s a sad situation…and a good reason to avoid brands like Tyson and Purdue and support your local farmers. I personally love Savannah River Farms and know they raise birds, but I think more options are showing up at the Forsyth Farmers market every year, too.

I thought I could cook our free range chicken just like any old chicken and decided to roast it in the oven with olive oil, fresh herbs,  root vegetables and salt and pepper. No problem, right?

Well, the chicken came out dry on the outside, tough, and partially raw on the inside.

What did I do wrong?

According to Yottam Ottolenghi, cooking the chicken whole was my first mistake. In his cookbook, he cuts up the chicken and lets it roast in in some sort of delicious marinade and makes a grain side dish cooked in the juices.

I decided try that, cut up the chicken (after watching this Youtube video on how to cut up a whole chicken because I have never actually done that before) and out came this incredibly flavorful, tender, chicken.

Another perk is the roasting takes 35- 45 minutes, so you can make this recipe any night of the week if you prep the marinade the day before.

We have 27 new chicks as of March 9th, a mix of different breeds for egg-laying and meat,and I have been enjoying watching them go from little puffballs to doubling in size in about a week.

 

Meet Mr. Popper, based on the book Mr. Popper’s penguins. Can you tell why!?

 

Mr. Popper

Mr. Popper

 

 

Clementine Roasted Free Range Chicken

Serves 3
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
From book Jerusalem
Try this Clementine Roasted Chicken for an easy and flavorful weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 free range chicken (quartered, skin on)
  • 3 clementines (sliced thinly short-wise)
  • 1 onion chopped into thin rings or slices
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 2 cups basmati rice (cooked)

Directions

Step 1
Combine the grapefruit and lemon juice, olive oil, wine , mustard and fennel in a large bowl and mix with a whisk.
Step 2
Place the chicken in a deep roasting pan and coat the chicken with the marinade. Pour all of the marinade over the chicken.
Step 3
Place the onions around the chicken and the sliced clementines on top of the chicken and in the pan.
Step 4
Cover the pan tightly and let it sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight to marinate the chicken.
Step 5
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper .
Step 6
Roast at 475 degrees uncovered for 35-45 minutes. It will get pretty dark and have crispy skin.
Step 7
Serve with basmati rice . This is delicious with sliced cucumbers and yogurt and fresh tomatoes on the side.

In love and light,

Lydia

 

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