Desert Chicken

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on March 12, 2011

avicas con crne and desert chicken and cauliflower w plantains 062-62-3

As one reader recently observed, we all need more chicken recipes.  I roasted these (see photo) chickens for Shabbat dinner this week. The California desert is spectacular this time of year.  Spring is here and although the nights are deliciously cool, the daytime temperatures have begun to rise. Outside in the garden  there is a heavenly symphony of chirping birds and honey bees buzzing as they fertilize the fragrant blossoms on all of the citrus trees. Citrus was my inspiration for this recipe. The deep hued flesh of Blood Oranges and the oh-so-sweet remains of the Pink Coachella grapefruit crop make a great base for the marinade.  I combined the Blood Orange juice, Pink Coachella grapefruit juice along with Bear Lime and Eureka variety Lemons for a flavorful strong citrus mélange. Next, a dollop of deep amber honey from avocado trees, fresh garlic and finally some New Mexico Chili powder too add depth and complexity. The raw chicken turned a shade of pink after soaking in the marinade for 6 hours and the roasted results did not disappoint.

The chicken was succulent and came out of the oven with a rich crispy mahogany color skin.  I served the chicken with Avocado honey Challah, oven roasted Brussels sprouts and oven roasted cauliflower with plantains and raisins, recipe to follow in another post.  Michael was impressed with the dinner.

2 3.5 pound chickens

4 Blood Oranges

4 Limes

1 Lemon

1 Pink Grapefruit

2 tablespoons honey

2 heaping tablespoons New Mexico Chili Powder

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

Rinse and dry the chickens.  Place each chicken in a zipper top plastic bag.  Squeeze the juice from all of the fruit into a pitcher.  If your citrus fruit is dry feel free to add more.  Add the smashed garlic, honey and New Mexico chili powder to the pitcher.  Mix the marinade. I omit salt since I am using kosher chickens.  If you are using regular chicken add some salt to the recipe.

Divide the marinade equally between the two plastic bags. Seal the bags and shake the chickens around to distribute the marinade all over.  Set the chicken in the bags on a plate or in the roasting pan you will use and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until it is time to roast the chicken.  One hour before roasting remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature.

Preheat your oven before you put the chicken in the oven. The oven temp should start at 400°. Remove the chicken from the bags and place them in a roasting pan.  Discard the bags with the marinade.  Roast the chicken in the oven uncovered starting at 400° for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 350° for another 40 minutes to 1 hour.  The chicken is done when it is a deep mahogany color and the juices run clear.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the chicken sit for at least 15 minutes before carving.

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