Roast chicken has been a savior for me in so many ways. The multi-functionality of purchasing a whole chicken makes me full of smiles inside and out. For one, it serves us for dinner, lunch, and even a small snack when it’s just me and my husband. Recently it happily satisfy’s 4 adults and our beloved dog, Khersi. Additionally, if I think ahead just a little more I end up with enough chicken stock for soups later. Over the past 2 years I’ve spent a lot of time making marinades and dry rubs for every roast chicken dinner we’ve had.
OH! I forgot to mention how humbling and grateful I feel when I place the bird on the table for everyone to share. Come to think of it, it feels like mini thanksgiving dinner, and like a true American thanksgiving will always have a special place in my heart. And by mini, I mean super mini- these roast chicken dinners are not fat and sugar heavy. I’m simply referring to the feeling you have when you see a golden, caramelized, fragrant bird on the table for everyone. It’s comforting.
Anyways, back to marinades and dry rubs.
For the longest time, I began any chicken rub or marinade with a compound butter. Truthfully some were more butter heavy than others but the flavor really came from the combination of spices and herbs I used. I find so much joy in making sure every roast chicken I make has a different rub/marinade. Stuffing the chicken was also it’s own little project; between a simple bread stuffing to my new favorite, rice, it’s never the same in our house. A lot of it has to do with how far I want this meal to stretch. Rice is always a favorite when it’s the beginning of the week and we have a long work week ahead. It helps stretch the chicken further. Summer time is about the only time I opt out of stuffing the chicken. It keeps the meal lighter and allows me to play with fruit based marinades. Citrus is always a favorite and lemon is usually the fruit of choice but today I changed it up a bit.
Over the year’s I’ve also learned to utilize as much of the components of the marinade/rub in other parts of the dish. It’s a simple concept but when my mind starts to wander into different avenues of recipe development, I embarrassingly forget how much waste is created. Not to mention waste of money !
That being said, this recipe uses all parts of the orange. I am aware I’m not reinventing a wheel here but for any believers, as I was one before, of stuffing the chicken with aromatics doesn’t make a difference I tell you this- the amount of fragrance that perfumes the chicken starting from before it goes into the oven until it comes will only grow. And that is exactly what happened with this chicken recipe. The balsamic only added to the deep color the skin of the chicken will reach as it roast while it pairs it self with orange. Orange and balsamic, I think, go just as well as the infamous strawberries and balsamic commonly seen in desserts. However, orange plays with the savory components of balsamic reduction because of the tang it offers- refreshing and crisp. The kitchen will be filled with notes of toasted caramel and a clean aromatic finish.
I, unfortunately, have a very finicky oven that self regulates it’s temperature so what you see is a result of my oven, nothing more; the tops of the breast and drumsticks fall victim of the hot zones in the oven. Simply cover the chicken with foil for the first 30 minutes while its in the oven (basting and painting the remaining marinade on it as it bakes) and then remove the foil for the last 30 minutes. I had every intention of doing this, but what can I say? Dinner time snuck up and got the best of me, leaving me panicked half way through the roasting process.
I promise that patch of burnt you see is a product of my oven. Besides that, with proper rest after removing from the oven, this chicken is juicy and flavorful down to the bone partly because of the orange and rosemary stuffed inside. To be honest, I was pretty embarrassed to post this but the flavor combination in the marinade was just too damn good and I had to share it. No gravy needed!