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Double Citrus Chicken with Fennel

Elevate your culinary experience with a succulent citrus chicken dish that incorporates the aromatic flavours of fennel and fresh dill.

Double citrus chicken with fennel and citrus salsa

This delightful recipe combines the zesty goodness of citrus fruits with the earthy notes of fennel, resulting in a mouthwatering and satisfying meal. Perfect for any occasion, this citrus chicken pan roast promises a burst of flavours that will leave your taste buds tingling.

Just a heads up, this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Don’t worry, these are products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Happy cooking and thanks for supporting Culinary Cartel!

The Magic of Marinade

Marinating meat serves several purposes, and the duration of the marination can impact the final flavour and texture of the dish. There are several benefits to marinating the chicken legs in this recipe overnight, including:

  • Flavour infusion: Marinating allows the flavours of the marinade to penetrate the meat. The longer the marination, the more time the chicken has to absorb the herbs, spices, acids, and other aromatic components of the marinade. This infusion enhances the overall taste, providing a deeper and more nuanced flavour profile.
  • Tenderness: Marinating doesn’t just impact flavour; it also affects the texture of the meat. Acids in the marinade, such as citrus juices, vinegar, or yoghurt, can break down the muscle fibers in the chicken, making it more tender. This is particularly beneficial for tougher cuts of meat, like chicken legs.
  • Moisture retention: Extended marination helps the meat retain moisture. As the chicken sits in the marinade, it absorbs liquids, preventing it from drying out during the cooking process. This results in a juicier and more succulent end product.
  • Consistent flavour distribution: Longer marination ensures that the flavours are distributed more evenly throughout the chicken. This is especially important when dealing with larger or thicker cuts of meat, like chicken legs, as it ensures that every bite is infused with the intended taste.
  • Developing a flavourful crust: If the chicken is seared or grilled, a longer marination time can contribute to the development of a flavorful crust on the exterior of the meat. The sugars and seasonings in the marinade caramelise during cooking, enhancing the overall appeal of the dish.
  • Planning convenience: Marinating the chicken overnight can be convenient for meal planning. By marinating ahead of time, you can save preparation time on the day you plan to cook, making it easier to manage busy schedules.

The Citrus Chicken Secret Ingredient: Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a popular ingredient in marinades for various meats, including chicken. When using yoghurt in a marinade, it’s often combined with other ingredients such as garlic, chilli, herbs, and spices to create a well-balanced flavour profile. Whether you’re preparing grilled, baked, or roasted chicken, a yoghurt-based marinade can elevate the dish, providing a harmonious blend of tenderness and flavor.

Yoghurt contains enzymes, such as lactic acid, that can help break down proteins in meat. This enzymatic action tenderises the meat, making it more succulent and enjoyable. This is particularly beneficial for tougher cuts of meat, such as chicken thighs or legs.

In addition, the natural moisture content of yoghurt helps keep the meat moist during the cooking process. This is especially useful for lean meats or poultry cuts that can easily dry out. The yoghurt forms a protective barrier, preventing the meat from losing too much moisture during cooking, resulting in juicier and more flavorful meat.

Furthermore, yoghurt acts as a carrier for other flavours in the marinade. It helps bind and transport the herbs, spices, and seasonings into the meat. This leads to a well-seasoned and tasty end product.

Yoghurt has a mildly acidic nature due to lactic acid. This acidity contributes to the breakdown of proteins for tenderness and imparts a subtle tangy flavor to the meat. The acid in yogurt can complement various herbs and spices, adding depth to the overall taste.

The thickness of yoghurt also allows it to adhere well to the surface of the meat, helping the marinade to stick and coat the chicken evenly. This ensures the spices and seasonings in the marinade cling to the meat, resulting in a more flavuorful and well-seasoned dish.

Finally, yoghurt has a mild and creamy flavour, making it a versatile base for marinades. It doesn’t overpower other ingredients in the marinade, allowing the flavours of herbs, spices, and other seasonings to shine through.

Metal vs Ceramic Baking Sheets

Metal sheets are excellent for achieving quick, even browning, while ceramic sheets may be preferred for certain slow-cooked dishes or when heat retention is essential. Understanding the characteristics of each type of bakeware will help you make an informed decision based on your baking needs.

Metal conducts heat quickly and efficiently. This means that a metal baking sheet will heat up rapidly and distribute heat evenly across its surface. It is particularly well-suited for recipes that benefit from consistent and rapid heat transfer. They also tend to lose heat faster once removed from the oven and this will stop the cooking process immediately after taking the bakeware out of the oven. Finally, they are excellent for achieving a golden brown and crispy exterior.

Double citrus chicken with fennel and citrus salsa (Thermapen)

The Perfect Temperature for Citrus Chicken

Using a temperature thermometer like the Thermapen when cooking chicken is crucial to ensure perfectly cooked, flavourful chicken. 

Different parts of the chicken may require different cooking times to reach a safe temperature. By using a thermometer, you can accurately measure the internal temperature of specific chicken pieces, ensuring that each part is cooked to perfection without guesswork.

Overcooking chicken can result in dry and tough meat. With a Themapen, you can cook chicken to the precise temperature needed for retaining moisture and achieving an optimal texture. This ensures a juicy and flavourful end product.

Using a Thermapen promotes consistency in your cooking. Whether you’re grilling, roasting, or frying chicken, a thermometer helps you achieve the same level of doneness every time you cook, leading to reliable and delicious results.

Different cuts of chicken may have varying recommended internal temperatures. For example, boneless, skinless chicken breasts require a different temperature than bone-in thighs. A Thermapen allows you to tailor your cooking approach to each specific cut, resulting in perfectly cooked meat.

Using a thermometer can help you cook chicken more efficiently. Instead of relying solely on cooking times, which can be affected by factors like oven variations and chicken size, you can focus on achieving the right internal temperature for safe and delicious results.

Cooking chicken to the right internal temperature is crucial to ensure it maintains a juicy and flavourful texture. The following are the recommended internal temperatures for various chicken pieces:

  • Whole chicken: Cook a whole chicken in an oven at 350°F (175°C). The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.
  • Chicken breasts: Roast or bake boneless, skinless chicken breasts in an oven at 375°F (190°C). The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C). Grill this meat over medium-high heat. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C), and it’s essential to monitor to avoid overcooking.
  • Chicken thighs and drumsticks: Roast or bake bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks at 375°F (190°C). The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C). Skin-on pieces may take a little longer to cook due to the added insulation from the skin. These pieces of meat should be grilled over medium heat. Similar to roasting, the internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
  • Chicken wings: Bake chicken wings in an oven at 400°F (200°C) or fry them until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Cooking time may vary depending on the method used.

Remember to insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching bone for an accurate temperature reading. It’s also crucial to let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking. During the resting period, the internal temperature continues to rise slightly, and juices redistribute within the meat, ensuring a more flavourful and moist result.

Sweet Citrus in Savoury Dishes

Roasting oranges can impart a unique and intensified flavour to the fruit, creating a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet and savory dishes. The roasting caramelises the natural sugars, intensifying their sweetness and depth of flavour. It also releases aromatic compounds, and the warm, citrusy aroma can enhance the overall sensory experience of your cooking.

Blood oranges are a unique and flavourful variety of orange known for their distinct appearance and rich, ruby-red flesh. Their deep red to maroon-colored pulp is the result of anthocyanin pigments.

These oranges are prized for their sweet and slightly tart flavour, often with berry-like undertones. The unique combination of sweetness and acidity makes them perfect for this citrus chicken recipe.

Double citrus chicken with fennel and citrus salsa

Orange You Glad You Tried this Succulent Citrus Chicken with Fennel?

Don’t forget to share your experience with us if you give this recipe a try! Leave a comment, give it a rating, and remember to use #theculinarycartel on Instagram when you post a photo so we can check out your delicious creation.

Want to try out other chicken and yoghurt recipes? Look at this one-pan Spicy Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas and Yoghurt or the spicy, smoky, and creamy Chicken and Rice with Lime Chimichurri and Greek Yoghurt.

Shop the Equipment

These are Amazon affiliate links of the products I personally love and recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Instant Digital Large Air Fryer Oven with XXL Capacity

MasterClass Deep Stainless Steel Roasting Tin

ETI SuperFast Thermapen 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! Anyone with gluten sensitivity can enjoy this citrus chicken dish.   as

What citrus other than orange can I use?

Lemons and limes might leave your dish too sour and bitter, so try juicy, sweet citrus like clementines, satsumas, pomelo, blood orange, and yellow grapefruit. 

Why cook chicken to a specific temperature?

Cooking your citrus chicken to 74°C ensures it’s cooked through, succulent, and tender.   as

Can I replace the chicken with other meat?

You can substitute the chicken with fish, but it will cook faster and at a different temperature. We haven’t tried it yet, so if you do, let us know the results! 

What is the difference between a metal and ceramic baking sheet?

Metal sheets are excellent for achieving quick, even browning, while ceramic sheets may be preferred for certain slow-cooked dishes or when heat retention is essential. Understanding the characteristics of each type of bakeware will help you make an informed decision based on your baking needs.

Metal conducts heat quickly and efficiently. This means that a metal baking sheet will heat up rapidly and distribute heat evenly across its surface. It is particularly well-suited for recipes that benefit from consistent and rapid heat transfer. They also tend to lose heat faster once removed from the oven and this will stop the cooking process immediately after taking the bakeware out of the oven. Finally, they are excellent for achieving a golden brown and crispy exterior. 

Double citrus chicken with fennel and citrus salsa
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Double citrus chicken with fennel and citrus salsa

Double Citrus Chicken with Fennel


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Description

Elevate your culinary experience with a succulent citrus chicken dish that incorporates the aromatic flavours of fennel and fresh dill.


Ingredients

Units
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 chicken legs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds*
  • 2 red chillies, finely diced, or more chilli flakes
  • 1 red onion
  • Fennel bulb
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 10g (a rough handful) fresh dill (half for dressing, half for yoghurt)
  • 1 cup, plus 2 tbsp thick and creamy plain yoghurt for serving
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper as needed

*If you don’t have fennel seeds, coriander seeds will work here, or add some dill/fennel fronds to the roasting tray with the orange slices. If really stuck, simply omit them.


Instructions

  1. Zest the grapefruit and all the oranges into a bowl or container.
  2. Add the juice of half of one orange to the bowl, then grate in the garlic cloves.
  3. Add the chilli flakes, 2 tbsp of yoghurt, the chicken legs, a drizzle of oil, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients together to combine. Marinate for at least 20 minutes, but ideally an hour or overnight.
  4. Once ready to cook, place a pan on medium-high heat, and once hot, add a drizzle of oil.
  5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Reserve the marinade.
  6. Place the legs skin-side down in the pan and cook until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, and in the residual heat, toast the fennel seeds, and add one of the fresh red chillies, diced finely. Once the fennel seeds are fragrant, deglaze the frying pan with the chicken marinade, and stock or water scraping the base to remove the caramelized bits. Set aside.
  8. Slice one of the whole oranges into thick rounds and cut the fennel bulb into chunky wedges through the root end.
  9. Peel the red onion, then cut half into wedges, saving the other half for the citrus salsa.
  10. Arrange the browned legs, fennel, onion wedges, and orange slices in a roasting tray suitably for your air fryer, with the legs on top, skin side up.
  11. Pour over the marinade and pan juices.
  12. Sprinkle over salt and pepper, then cover the dish with foil and place it in the air fryer or oven.
  13. Cook:
    In the air fryer:
    Roast at 185°C for roughly 30 – 40 minutes or until a temperature probe inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 55°C. Remove the foil.
    Return to the air fryer to cook at 190°C for 10 – 15 minutes or until a temperature probe inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 77 – 79°C.
    In the oven:
    Roast at 195°C for roughly 30 – 40 minutes or until a temperature probe inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 55°C. Remove the foil.
    Return to the oven to cook at 210°C for 10 – 15 minutes or until a temperature probe inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 77 – 79°C.
  14. While the chicken cooks, slice the top and bottom off your remaining whole orange and the grapefruit.
  15. Use a serrated knife to remove the peel, cutting along the curve to preserve as much of the citrus inside as possible.
  16. Cut the orange into half moons, and segment or slice the grapefruit.
  17. Add the peeled citrus to a bowl, along with the juice of the half orange from earlier.
  18. Dice the remaining red chilli finely and finely dice the red onion and half the dill.
  19. Add the onion and chilli to the bowl with the citrus and juice, and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  20. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  21. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes in a warm spot. The meat will rest and continue to cook, reaching 83-85°C, depending on the size of the cuts. The result is tender, succulent brown meat, with a lovely crispy skin.
  22. Finely chop the remaining dill, stir it through the yoghurt and season the yoghurt to taste.
  23. Smear the yoghurt onto two plates, spoon over the roasted oranges, fennel, and onion, top with the citrusy chicken, and finish with a hefty spoon of the chunky citrus salsa.
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 55 min
  • Category: Mains
  • Method: Air fryer
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