This is my ‘oriental’ version of poultry with oranges, loosely inspired by the French Duck a l’Orange. My very different roasted chicken is flavored with North African preserved lemons, and scented with Eastern Mediterranean spices (cumin, turmeric, and allspice).
One 3-4 pounds (1 1/2-2 kilos) chicken or 3-4 whole chicken legs
6-7 rosemary sprigs
2 heads garlic; peel the cloves from one, and cut the other in half, horizontally
3-4 pieces preserved lemon or more, depending on the size
2 large, naval oranges, halved. Juice the three pieces, and thinly slice the remaining orange half
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2-3 teaspoons Maraş or Aleppo pepper or 1/2-1 seeded fresh jalapeño peppers, to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
Finishing salt (optional)
Line the Dutch oven with parchment paper and scatter a few of the rosemary sprigs at the bottom.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC)
Make the paste: In a blender or small food processor add the peeled garlic cloves, the preserved lemon–without rinsing the pieces, the orange juice —reserving the slices— the mustard, the pepper, the cumin, turmeric and allspice. Pour in the olive oil and the wine and process to get a somewhat chunky, but runny paste.
Place the chicken over the rosemary sprigs and wearing gloves massage it all over, inside and out with the paste, carefully lifting the skin and inserting some of the paste under it, especially on the breast, to give it more flavor. Turn the chicken and rub the other side as well and then rest it on its back and place the orange slices over the breast and drumsticks—if they slide, secure them in place with toothpicks.
Place the halved garlic next to the chicken and scatter the rest of the rosemary around the bird. Cover loosely with a piece of parchment paper and the lid and place at the bottom half of the oven.
Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 280ºF (135º C) and roast another 45 minutes. Check to see if it is cooked through by inserting a knife into the thickest part of the upper leg: the juices should be clear, not pinkish. If it is not cooked, cover and continue roasting another 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
Increase the heat to 480ºF (250º C), uncover and lightly spray the chicken with water, then let it roast another 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.
Serve immediately and carve, pouring sauce from the pan over each piece and sprinkling with finishing salt, if you like. Preserved lemons are usually very salted so additional salt is probably not needed.