Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Oranges
We’re right in the middle of citrus season. This is one of my favorite times of year. Sure, I love the spring and summer when there’s an abundance of berries and stone fruits, but when those sweet berries and peaches aren’t available, oranges and lemons are a wonderful alternative.
While citrus aren’t as sweet as those delectable berries and plums, they provide a wonderful tart flavor that’s needed during these cold, winter months. With so many options, how could you not love them? I mean, there are tangerines, Meyer lemons, sweet lemons, blood oranges, Cara Caras, Sumo oranges… it’s a plethora of citrus! But if you think those yellow and orange spheres are only good for drinks and desserts, I have a surprise for you: they go great with proteins, too.
I use lemons all the time when I’m making chicken. It doesn’t matter if I roast it whole or sauté breasts in a skillet. The lemon juice adds a much needed pop of acid that ties the whole meal together. And while I use lemons and limes all the time, I don’t normally use oranges. They’re just too sweet. However, in this recipe from Bon Appétit, they compliment the salty olives and feta cheese as well as the lemon juice in which the chicken marinates.
That’s right, I said marinate.
I know there’s a rule about not marinating raw proteins like chicken or shellfish in lemon, lime or even orange juice because the acid starts to cook the meat. But in this case, it only adds to the delicious flavor of the chicken thighs. And now that I’ve seen it doesn’t ruin the chicken, I think I’ll start marinating it in citrus more often.
The cool thing about marinating chicken is, you can do it for however long you have. If you only have 30 minutes on a busy weeknight, great. If you have tons of time and want to start marinating the night before, even better. See, the longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful; and who doesn’t love moist, flavorful chicken? I know I do. But no matter how long you marinate the chicken, you’ll get a nice, tart flavor that runs through the whole dish. Add the sweet potatoes, salty olives and cheese and you’ve got a hearty dinner any night of the week.