Recipe: Chicken with silan and tangerines

Sweet and zesty — definitely a Shabbat crowd pleaser


Photo Staci Valentine

What a great way to celebrate the arrival of winter citrus and the season's holidays: tender roast chicken burnished with a sweet-hot rub of silan, or date syrup, and harissa, and perfumed with tangerines caramelised in the oven. If you don't like it hot, reduce the amount of harissa or substitute sweet smoked paprika. If you're making it for a crowd, use the same weight in chicken parts (thighs and drumsticks work best). Lightly brined olives, such as Sicilian Castelveltranos, marry well with the other flavours of the dish.

Serves: 6 – 8


1 chicken, 1.8 kg

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp silan (date syrup)

2-3 tsp harissa spice mix, harissa paste, or ½ tsp each cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, coriander and cumin

Kosher or sea salt

340g shallots (about 4 large or 8 small)

6 tangerines or other sweet mandarins

175g lightly brined green olives

240-480 ml white wine, stock or water


● Preheat the oven to 200°C. Pat the chicken dry. Whisk together 4 tablespoons olive oil, the silan, harissa to taste, and 1 teaspoon 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 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 for 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 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 240ml of wine, and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Cook until 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 pan juices.

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