I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to post this recipe. On the one hand, it was delicious. On the other, I think it could be improved upon, and I’d rather make it using a whole chicken. It would take better pictures, and I think it would taste better, too. I tossed this together tonight, playing with the flavors. Sage and clementines are two of my favorite flavors during the holidays. Sage is wonderful in stuffing and meats, but I thought its perfumed flavor might be the perfect foil to the sweet citrus flavor of clementines. I always look forward to the crates of clementines appearing in the market each year, and I impulsively bought one last week. I’ve had clementines for breakfast, clementines for snacks, clementines at lunch – why not make them part of dinner?
Clementines are in season late fall through winter, and they are often imported from Spain or North Africa. While clementines are related to mandarin oranges, they are separate species of the fruit. They are very sweet. Clementines provide an excellent source for antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. At only 50 calories each, they make a healthy snack. With a fuller, sweeter flavor than traditional oranges, they make a delicious one, too.
Armed with my clementines, I set out to tweak a favorite roast chicken recipe. I usually place it in the fridge to marinate overnight in a freezer bag. Since I made this chicken on a whim, it didn’t receive its compulsory time in the marinade. I’d recommend marinating it overnight and starting it out on a higher temperature in the oven so it achieves a beautiful, bronzed skin. Another consideration: sprinkle a whole chicken inside and out with salt and pepper, and slide slices of clementines and whole sage leaves under the skin. Fill the cavity with a quartered onion, garlic cloves, more sage, and a quartered clementine. Rub the whole bird down with butter or olive oil and roast away.
Regardless of how you arrive at the finished product, rest assured that the flavors of the sage and clementine meld with the chicken perfectly. This would be wonderful to serve to guests at a holiday dinner party or get-together.
Sage and Clementine Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, cut into serving pieces
- 3 clementines, one quartered, and two sliced paper-thin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 25-30 sage leaves, 1 T finely chopped
- 1/3 C olive oil (not extra virgin)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the chicken in a freezer bag. Squeeze the clementine quarters and toss them into the bag. Add in the minced garlic and the tablespoon of chopped sage. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour over the olive oil, and mash the bag around a bit to distribute the flavors. Let this marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours at least; overnight is better. When ready to roast, tumble the pieces out into a roasting pan skin-side up. Lay a slice of clementine and a sage leaf or two on every piece. Roast at 425º for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350º and continue roasting for another 30-45 minutes.