Jerusalem’s Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak

Jerusalem roasted chicken with clementines
Savory and sweet roasted chicken, right from the oven

Like many home cooks, I have acquired a number of cookbooks over the years, most of which gather dust. But over and over again, I find myself reaching for the fantastic Jerusalem cookbook. The easily accessible dishes give us plenty of excuses to explore Atlantic Avenue’s Middle Eastern shops—although you can make this dish without any special ingredients.

Jerusalem chicken with clementines
All ready for the oven!

This recipe makes great use of clementines, about the only seasonal winter citrus you can find right now. The clementine’s citrus combines with fennel, mustard, and the Middle Eastern anise-flavored liquor arak, for a sweet-savory combination you will certainly enjoy. If arak is hard to find (my local liquor store did have it)—you can substitute any similar liquor, such as Greek ouzo or French Pernod. Or experiment with another spirit like bourbon, but you won’t get the same anise flavor.

Serve this at your next dinner party with a Middle Eastern salad, assorted mezze, or some moghrabieh soup.

Jerusalem's Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak

Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern


  • tbsp arak ouzo, or Pernod
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp orange juice preferably, freshly squeezed
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs about 1 pound total
  • 1 large chicken cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher), or about 2¾ lbs skin on, bone in chicken thighs
  • 4 clementines
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • tsp fennel seeds lightly crushed
  • 1 cup parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees (or if marinating, do this when you're ready to cook; see below).
  2. Put the arak, olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, mustard, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add 2½ teaspoons salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.
  3. Trim the fennel bulbs, discarding a few bitter outer layers. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 4 wedges. Cut the clementines, unpeeled, horizontally into quarter-inch slices.
  4. Add the cut fennel bulbs, clementines, chicken, thyme, and fennel seeds to the set-aside liquid. Stir well with your hands. If you have time, marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Don't worry if you don't have time.
  5. If you marinated, remove from fridge to let the chicken return to room temperature; meanwhile preheat the oven. Otherwise, the oven should be almost preheated by now.
  6. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, together with the marinade into a backing dish large enough to accommodate everything (ideally) on one layer. A lasagna pan works well.
  7. Roast in the oven 35-45 minutes until the chicken is colored and cooked through.
  8. Remove chicken, fennel, and clementines onto a serving plate. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and place over medium heat until sauce is reduced by one-third. Pour over the chicken, garnishing with some chopped parsley.

Jerusalem chicken with clementines

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