I love cooking meat and fish with fruit, the sweetness and the acidity bringing out wonderful flavors in the meat and enhancing the delicate flavors of fish. Since I am always on the lookout for new recipes from different regions of Italy, I was so pleased to have stumbled upon this recipe for chicken cooked in orange juice in a Sicilian cookbook that we brought over from Italy. I would have been tempted by this recipe in Italy, but probably avoided it since Italian chickens just didn’t do it for me, and I don’t think that they really do it for Italians either. After a visit to Charleston my mother-in-law has become a lover of fried chicken and continues to note that American chicken is so much tastier than Italian chicken, not sure what that is about, but she’s right. I know that most of the chickens found on the market these days are fattened up with corn, bizarre hormones and the like, though I do try to buy free range chicken (or at least I hope they are free range), they taste a lot more like chicken should than their Italian cousins.
- 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- the juice of 3 oranges
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- 4 ounces of black olives, about 1/2 a cup
- around 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, separated
- salt and pepper to taste
Create a marinade with the juice of two of the oranges, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper. Marinate the chicken in the mix for at least 4 hours.
After the marinating time has passed preheat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil in a rimmed baking dish (likely less than 1/4 of a cup, you really just want to wet the baking dish so that the chicken doesn’t stick) and place the chicken in the dish, without overlapping the pieces.
Pour the marinade over the chicken adding the juice of the third orange to the mixture. Place a sprig of rosemary on each piece of chicken and spread the olives throughout the pan. Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes, turning the pan frequently to make sure that the meat cooks evenly.
When all the pieces are done and are golden remove from the oven and let the chicken sit for a minute before serving. Serve with cooking juices drizzled on top.