Roast Chicken with Blood Orange and Olives ~ you’re going to roast chicken anyway, so why not make it special? Peel a couple of blood oranges (substitute regular oranges or tangerines) and throw in some green olives to bake along with it, you’ll be so happy you did!
Next time you pick up a package of chicken, think about stopping by the olive bar and produce section for a couple of quick additions. The briny green olives and sweet acidity of the oranges makes a wonderful sauce when you deglaze the pan with a little Marsala. Red onions, a little garlic, and thyme are the only other players in this game.
I’ve got a long history with chicken and citrus here on the blog, my MEYER LEMON ROAST CHICKEN uses a little Limoncello in the sauce, the epic ROAST CHICKEN WITH CLEMENTINES is a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, and LEMON CHICKEN BIRYANI is one of my faves.
The raspberry-citrus flavor and blush color of blood oranges is irresistible to me, but don’t despair if you can’t find them, any number of sliced citrus fruits would work here, you could try Meyer lemons or tangerines, for instance.
What are blood oranges?
Blood oranges are a Mediterranean variety of orange with a deep blush colored flesh that comes from pigments called anthocyanins ~ they’re the same antioxidant compounds that color blueberries and black rice. Anthocyanins are also responsible for the red and purple colors in fall foliage.
Blood oranges have a distinctive berry like flavor and when you squeeze them the juice is an absolutely gorgeous color. You can use the juice in dressings, sauces, and and drinks, both alcoholic and not.
There are a few different types of blood orange, Tarocco, Moro and Sanguinello. Slice open a blood orange and the flesh can be anything from rosy to almost black, depending on where they’re grown and the specific growing conditions.
From the outside, blood oranges look a lot like regular oranges, so read the signs and keep your eyes peeled for them in your produce section.
Are blood oranges worth the effort to find them?
Yes! But not because they’re trendy or healthy (which they are) but because they’re such a pleasure for all your senses. You’re only going to find them in season, in the middle of winter, so hunt some down soon!
TIP: Speak up and ask your produce manager for blood oranges…regular supermarkets have access to all kinds of stuff, they just need to know there’s a demand for it!
I’ve used blood oranges in all kinds of recipes here on tvfgi, but one of the simplest ways to get acquainted with their unique flavor and color is to make a BLOOD ORANGEADE. It’s a healthy alternative to soda, and a great cocktail substitute if you’re trying to cut back on alcohol.
*Recipe lightly adapted from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry
Chicken with Blood Orange and Olives
- one fryer chicken cut into 8 parts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for brushing
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 medium red onion peeled, halved, and cut into thin wedges
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup Marsala
- juice of 1 blood orange
- 1 cup green olives
- 2 blood oranges peeled and sliced
- extra thyme sprigs
- Set oven to 375F
- Heat a heavy skillet that is big enough to fit all the chicken in a single layer on medium high and lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. Brush the chicken pieces with oil and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Brown the chicken on both sides, starting with the skin side down, and working in batches so you don't crowd the pan. Add more oil if necessary.
- Remove the chicken to a plate and reduce the heat. Add the onions to the pan and saute for a few minutes, just to soften them a bit. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two more.
- Pour the Marsala into the pan and stir to get any browned bits off the bottom, then add the orange juice. Arrange the chicken pieces back into the pan, skin side up. Add several sprigs of thyme, bring to a boil, and then put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and add the olives and orange slices. Put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done through. If you'd like more caramelization, slide the pan under the broiler for a few minutes, but watch it carefully.
- Serve right away, garnished with fresh thyme leaves. Be sure to spoon all that good sauce over the chicken, too!
Make it your own ~
- Use all chicken thighs if you like.
- Any type of olive will work, I think the black wrinkly Kalamata olives would be great, too.
- For Paleo and Whole 30, use chicken broth in place of the Marsala.