Chicken with Grain Mustard, Clementines and Star Annise
Colourful, unusual and gloriously flavourful, this is my take on Ottolenghi's Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak. I didn't have any arak/ouzo/pernod so used my favourite for cooking, dry vermouth and added star anise and fresh bay leaves. The result was sweetly delicious with rather fine good looks and just gentle notes of aniseed; very good in fact and surprisingly comforting.
3 tbsps. olive oil
Juice of one plump orange
Juice of one plump lemon
1 generous tbps. grain mustard
2 tbsps. soft brown sugar
Generous seasoning of salt and pepper
4 large chicken thighs, bone in but trimmed of excess skin
1 fennel bulb, cut into 6-8 wedges
2 tsps. fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 star anise
1.5 tsps fennel seeds, lightly crushed
80ml dry vermouth
Combine the oil, orange and lemon juices, grain mustard and soft brown sugar in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Stir together
Put the trimmed chicken thighs into a roasting pan with the fennel. They should be in a single layer and the chicken should be skin side up.
Cut the unpeeled clementines horizontally into thick, chunky slices and add them to the roasting pan
Tuck in the bay leaves and the star anise, add the thyme leaves and trickle over the vermouth
Now spoon all the oil and mustard mixture over the chicken thighs
Bake uncovered in a hot oven for 40-45 minutes. The chicken should be burnished and completely cooked; the clementine skin should be just beginning to caramelise and blacken
If you can, assemble this in the roasting pan without the vermouth, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours to absorb the delicious flavours. Add the vermouth just before roasting in the oven.
If you have arak, pernod or ouzo to hand you could use it instead of the vermouth, but I would then remove the star anise.
Boil to reduce and concentrate the juices at the end if necessary.