Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mediterranean Herb & Citrus Roasted Chicken Breasts

Moist, fragrant and absolutely delicious, this Mediterranean-inspired Herb & Citrus Roasted Chicken positively shouts summer, with a parade of bright flavours and fresh garden herbs familiar with the promise of warmer days and lazy evenings under the stars. An aromatic marinade of fresh squeezed orange and lemon juice, olive oil, pungent garlic, dried Greek oregano, paprika and crushed red pepper are whisked together and poured over the chicken, allowing the flavours to infuse for a couple of hours or ideally, overnight if you have the time, allowing the citrus juices to perfumes the chicken while it marinates. Arranged in a baking dish with the marinade drizzled overtop, and slices of lemon, orange and onion pocketed under and round the breasts, the chicken is seasoned with a final flurry of olives, sprinkle of fragrant herbs and roasted for 30-40 minutes until it's golden brown and the citrus slices have caramelized nicely. To serve, arrange the crisp golden brown chicken breasts on a warmed decorative platter, top with the caramelized orange and lemon slices, drizzle with a little jus and garnish with some fresh herbs. Modified from a recipe by 'Comfort of Cooking', this sensational dish is excellent served with my friend Linda's luscious Lemon Dill Rice and a simple green salad. Even my husband said "It's a keeper." High praise indeed.

Marinade of olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, Greek oregano, paprika, 
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

The chicken breasts are bathed in the olive oil mixture and allowed to marinate for about 2 hours

Slices of lemon, orange and onion are set around and under the chicken, then sprinkled generously with the olives, homemade dried rosemary and seasoned again with Kosher salt and black pepper

Roasted in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes, the breasts were cooked through 
but still lovely, tender and moist

Herb & Citrus Roasted Chicken Breasts
Serves 2

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp sugar
2 lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on
1/2 medium red or white onion, thinly sliced

1 cup black olives
1/2 tsp dried thyme, or fresh chopped
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary, or fresh chopped
Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, for garnish

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, Greek oregano, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a rimmed baking dish, skin side up, and pour the olive oil mixture overtop, turning the breasts to coat on all sides, and allow to marinate 1-2 hours. 
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken, then sprinkle generously with the olives, thyme, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Roast uncovered for about 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. To serve, arrange the chicken and caramelized orange and lemon slices on a warmed platter, and garnish with fresh herbs. I also like to serve the remaining sauce in a gravy boat to pour over the chicken for an extra blast of flavour.

Lemon Rice Mitchell
Serves 6

2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh lemon rind
2 tbsp fresh chopped dill
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Mix the broth, rice and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low for 20-30 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the lemon rind, dill and butter and serve garnished with dill sprigs and lemon curls.

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