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Sweet and Spicy Roast Chicken with Carrots, Dates and Pistachios

written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.

Adapted from www.onceuponachef.com

I was a bit nervous making this for guests without trying it first, but it was totally awesome! Everyone went back for seconds! I served it with totally sides of plain bulgur and string beans, and it was perfect. I used skinless thighs and bone-in chicken breasts, left them bone side down for cooking, left out the broiler step to crisp the skin(since there was none) and left them to rest in the sauce, bone side up for 2 days. Before serving, I took the chicken off the bone to soak in the sauce. It was delicious!  I cooked the chicken in a glass casserole dish and didn't have any difficulty with cleanup.  But then again, I skipped the broiler step.

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon orange zest
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, from 2 oranges
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
6 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2½ teaspoons salt
4 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks and breasts)
3 cups ¼-inch sliced carrots
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced dried dates (I used a combination of fresh and dried dates)

Garnish when about to serve:
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped salted pistachios


Directions:

1) Make the marinade: In a medium bowl whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes, garlic, thyme, and salt.

2) Place the chicken, carrots, onions, and dates in a large sealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and seal shut. Massage to make sure everything is evenly coated with the marinade. Place the bag on a rimmed sheet pan to protect against leakage and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

3)Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.

4) Transfer all ingredients from the bag, including the marinade, to a rimmed sheet pan (do not line the pan with foil). Turn the chicken skin side up. Roast until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes. About halfway through cooking, stir the carrots so that they don’t burn around the edges of the pan.  If you are using skinless chicken, just cook until done.

5) If you're using skin-on chicken, turn on broiler (leave pan on middle rack), and cook 1 to 3 minutes more, or until skin is golden brown and crispy. Watch carefully: the honey in the marinade can cause the skin to burn quickly.

6) Transfer the chicken, carrots, onions and dates onto a platter, along with the sauce in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley, scallions and pistachio nuts over top and serve.

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