Baked Israeli Chicken in Citrus Juice

By • February 12, 2010 4 Comments

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Author Notes: When I lived in Israel, a simpler version of this chicken, calling only for orange juice, was served as a holiday staple at Kibbutz Naot Mordechai, located in the Hula Valley. I had friends who found their way to Naot to stay and work, and I often visited them from my location in Tel Aviv. The kibbutz was famous for its raising of chickens and production of shoes. I have eliminated the preserved kumquats that are listed as an ingredient in a recipe that I was able to find when I went searching for any kind of help in replicating the dish, back when I was a much younger cook who did not have the confidence to play with ingredients. I added other citrus components to add a zesty, tangy flavor. This dish is easy to prepare, and you can change up the ratios of citrus you use to get the flavor you prefer. Bevi

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Serves 4 portions

  • 2 Chicken Breasts (skins left on), split
  • 1 Pink or White Grapefruit
  • 4 Oranges that are juicy
  • 1 Lemon- Meyer or Eureka
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 cup Sherry or Port - completely optional - most of the time I do not add sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh pepper
  1. Juice all the citrus and pour into a mixing bowl. NOTE: You can play with the citrus juice ratios. Also, use various oranges, such as cara cara, etc.
  2. Add the honey to the citrus juices; mix well with a whisk to incorporate all the honey into the juice.
  3. Add the crushed red pepper to the honey and citrus marinade.
  4. Place each breast in a large Ziploc bag, and pound the breast so it is an even thickness of about 1 and a half inches. Cut each breast into 3 pieces. Salt and pepper each side of the breasts. Place the chicken breasts skin side down into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Allow the Salt and pepper to work into the breasts - about 20 minutes. Pour the citrus marinade over the chicken, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Take the marinated breasts out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature - about 30 minutes. Place the breasts in their marinade in a preheated 375-degree oven.
  6. Baste one or twice. After 15 minutes, turn the breasts over so the skin side is facing up.
  7. Continue to baste several times; after another 20 minutes, the skins should be nicely browned. At this point, remove from oven and place the chicken breasts on a platter. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  8. Pour the hot marinade in a saute pan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup sherry or port if you choose. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat, and add the chicken breasts and cover.
  9. Check the sauce and stir occasionally. The sauce should reduce to a syrupy consistency. Don't let the sauce reduction process take more than 15 minutes. Add a slurry of 1 TSP cornstarch and 2 TBS of hot marinade if necessary. This should immediately thicken the sauce.
  10. Plate the chicken on a bed of Israeli couscous, regular couscous, or quinoa. Pour half the sauce over the chicken, and serve the remainder of the sauce on the side.

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