Amelia says that one of her favorite ways to celebrate the holidays and the arrival of Southern California’s early winter citrus season is to serve them alongside a beautifully roasted chicken. In her recipe for Roast Chicken with Tangerines, Green Olives and Silan (date syrup), she selects lightly brined olives like Sicilian Castelveltranos and clementines from Ojai citrus grower Friend’s Ranch. She then adds extra dimension and kick to this dish by creating a sweet, spicy rub of silan, harissa and smoked paprika, evoking the sephardic flavors of North Africa.
Making the most of Southern California’s native citrus season, this recipe will take you straight through the spring.
Roast Chicken with Tangerines, Green Olives & Silan
Makes 6–8 servings
1 chicken, 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
2 tbsp silan (date syrup)
2–3 tsp harissa spice mix (½ tsp ea. cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, coriander and cumin) or harissa paste
Kosher or sea salt
¾ lbs (340 g) shallots (about 4 large or 8 small)
6 tangerines or other sweet mandarins
1 cup (175 g) lightly brined green olives, such as Castelveltrano
1–2 cups (240–480 ml) white wine, stock or water
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Pat the chicken dry. Whisk together 4 tablespoons (60 ml) olive oil, the silan, harissa to taste, and 1 tsp salt. Peel shallots and cut into quarters if large or halves if small. Cut unpeeled tangerines into quarters or sixths and poke out visible seeds.
Scatter shallots and tangerines in the bottom of a large roasting pan and toss with a little olive oil and salt. Rub chicken inside and out with the harissa-silan mixture. Toss a few tangerine and shallot pieces into the cavity of the chicken. Place chicken, breast side up, in the pan and tie the legs together loosely with twine, if desired.
Roast 30 minutes, baste with juices that have collected in the pan, and add the olives. Continue roasting, adding wine to the pan as needed to prevent the juices from burning and basting the bird once or twice more during the cooking, until the skin is a rich brown, and the chicken is cooked all the way through, about 30 minutes longer.
Transfer chicken, shallots, olives and tangerines to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Place roasting pan on the stove top over medium heat, pour in 1 cup of wine, and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Cook until heated through, reduced, thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. To defat the juices, pour them into a fat separator or skim off the fat with a large spoon.
Carve the chicken and serve with the shallots, olives, tangerines and the warm pan juices.