A chile-flecked, honey-imbued marinade spiked with fresh citrus juice gives this chicken its fiery, syrupy character. Dates and carrots give the sauce texture and additional sweetness while a garnish of fresh herbs and pistachio nuts lends freshness and crunch. It’s dinner party food at its most flavorful and convenient; its honey marinade makes it a particularly wonderful main course for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. The ingredients can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance, then all you need to do is pop it in the oven just before your guests arrive, and garnish it at the last minute. Serve it with couscous, polenta, rice or another soft grain to soak up the sauce.
Yield 4 to 6 servings
Time 1 hour 15 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes’ marinating
1 lemon, plus 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more for pot
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 bay leaf
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
⅔ cup sliced dates
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
¼ cup chopped toasted pistachio nuts, for garnish
Quarter the lemon lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges and add to small pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch for 2 minutes and drain. Reserve slices.
In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.
Put chicken in a bowl and add honey mixture. Add carrots, onion, dates, thyme and blanched lemon slices. Turn mixture several times to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a sheet pan with a rim. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes for breasts and 30 to 40 for legs and wings (remove the pieces as they are done cooking). When the chicken is done, give the carrot mixture in the pan a stir; if the pan looks dry add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.
Spoon carrots over chicken and top with cilantro, scallions and pistachio nuts.