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Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken


Serves 6, with leftovers

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

If you're going to roast one chicken, why not roast two? That way, you have plenty of leftovers to use in new, delicious guises later in the week. This recipe uses a two-part roasting method: first, the chicken is roasted at a high temperature to brown the skin, and then at a lower temperature to gently cook the meat through.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 4-lb. whole chickens, each cut into 6 pieces (4 breasts with rib bones, 4 leg-thigh pieces, 4 wings)
  • 4 large lemons
  • 2 large oranges
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 Tbs. dried, crumbled)
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the olive oil into a heavy-duty nonreactive roasting pan large enough to accommodate the chicken pieces in one layer. Arrange the chicken in the pan with the breasts in the center and the legs and wings around the edge.

Cut 1 of the lemons into 6 wedges. Finely grate the zest from another lemon to yield 1 tsp. and then squeeze the remaining lemons to yield 2/3 cup juice; transfer the zest and juice to a small bowl. Cut 1 of the oranges into 8 wedges. Finely grate the zest from the remaining orange to yield 1 tsp., and then squeeze the orange to yield 1/2 cup juice; add to the bowl with the lemon juice and zest. Scatter the lemon and orange wedges around the chicken pieces, but don’t put them on top of the chicken or they’ll interfere with browning.

Stir the garlic, oregano, soy sauce, honey, and pepper flakes into the citrus juice. Pour the marinade evenly over the chicken. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

Turn the chicken so all the pieces are skin side up. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to roast until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and the lemon and orange wedges to a platter. Pour the pan juice into a fat separator and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Discard the excess fat and pour the juice into a 10-inch skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the citrus wedges, passing the reduced pan juice at the table.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes and a green salad.


Use the leftover white meat in Chicken Tostadas, and the leftover dark meat in Chicken and Mushroom Risotto. For these recipes, reserve at least 1/2 cup of the pan juice and 2 lemon wedges, in addition to the leftover chicken.You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 4 days. Store the chicken, pan juice, and citrus wedges separately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 390, Fat (kcal): 24, Fat Calories (g): 220, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 40, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1, Carbohydrates (mg): 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 5, Sodium (g): 360, Cholesterol (g): 125, Fiber (g): 0,

Photo: Hector Sanchez

I served this at a dinner party. However I used more garlic, more olive oil and more honey. It did not look brown enough after 50 minutes so I removed the chicken from the juices and roasted it for 15 additional minutes. It was amazing. My guests all asked for the recipe.

I've made this three times now. The house always smells wonderful as this dish was cooks. I used only drumsticks and liked that the leftovers were still moist the next day. Take the time to boil the sauce down; it mellows the flavours...otherwise there is a little bitterness in the flavour. My only complaint is that the orange overwhelms all other flavours, including lemon. Next time, I will reduce the orange influence so that some of the other ingredients can be tasted too.

The chicken was great due the aromatics. WHAT would possess you to eat the orange slices in the first place?

The chicken was great due the aromatics. WHAT would possess you to eat the orange slices in the first place?

I made this recipe tonight and was a little disappointed. It smelled fantastic while cooking, and all the ingredients should have produced a winner. I followed the recipe to the letter, and found that the pan sauce had a strong bitter aftertaste, and the orange wedges were so bitter that they were inedible. If I were to make it again, and I might, I wouldn't bother to put the citrus wedges in the pan as I suspect that the peel was the source of the bitterness. My boyfriend, on the other hand, isn't a big fan of sauces and he just ate the chicken, and thought it was excellent. If anybody has any thoughts on the matter, I'd certainly be interested in hearing them.

I followed this recipe exactly, and I'd give it about 3 1/2 stars. It's OK, but I won't make it again.

Absolutely a new favorite! Easy to make and even better the next day! Love this one!

Not only is this recipe VERY easy, it comes out looking sensational and tasting wonderful. The citrus overtones mellow the richness of the chicken and the garlic beautifully. Most similar recipes turn out tasty but unattractive chicken pieces or the chicken browns to a lovely color but is dry and tasteless. This hits all the right notes. Definitely a keeper!

This is very easy and good. I've long been searching for a recipe that resembles the Orange Chicken we got in Morocco when I was 5, now, 24 years later I finally found a recipe that comes close. Great - thank you FIneCooking

I made this recipe for a dinner party on 3/15/12 and it received rave reviews from everyone! Today I made the Chicken Tostadas with Black Beans and Cilantro-Lime Cream which uses the leftover chicken from the first recipe. We found the Tostada recipe to be full flavored and beautifully seasoned. I have not had a recipe with such complex flavorings in a long time. Fresh and spicy but not too hot - bright is the best term I can think of. The textures are wonderful- from the coarse beans, the shredded chicken, the cool lime, cilantro cream, to the crispy radish and lettuce topping! Absolutely superb! This is a real keeper!

I've made this twice now and it is delicious. Quite a time saver to make all sorts of dishes throughout the week. It is also so lovely!

Easy,delicious and a great start to meals for the week! My husband says this is the most flavorful poultry dish he has ever had, and wants to have this replace our yummy Thanksgiving turkey recipe ( and for Christmas as well). My 9 year old gave this 2 thumbs up without any hesitation- something he usually reserves for chocolate.I followed the recipe as written and it came out perfect - juicy, citrusy and comforting on a Sunday night.

We loved this. But don't overlook (as I did, causing some last-minute scrambling and cheating) the all-important second sentence of the third paragraph: marinate for 6 to 12 hours! (Please, FC editors: put stuff like this up top in the description.) Still, the family reaction was "Awesome!"

I've made this three times and my kids eat the leftovers before I can make one of the recipes provided for left overs. Very good, very simple.

This is awesome. I had to cook mine longer than it said.

Yummy.... Easy

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