Date Glazed Orange Chicken – Sweet, Flavorful Recipe for
Orange-Marinated Roasted Chicken Glazed with Date Honey
A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for date honey syrup, known in the Middle East as silan. It’s a fantastic condiment that can add a ton of flavor to your cooking. Many of you asked for some recipe ideas incorporating date honey. This Date Glazed Orange Chicken is a delicious example of how date honey can take a dish from tasty to “holy wow, amazing!”
Dates and oranges go together like “peas and carrots,” as Forrest Gump would say. Here I’ve marinated chicken in freshly squeezed orange juice with hot sauce, mustard and thyme to give the chicken a depth of flavor. It’s not at all spicy; the hot sauce and mustard give the chicken a nice robust flavor, but it’s not overpowering. Then, during roasting, I basted the chicken with multiple layers of date honey to create a brown, bubbly, sticky skin. The combination of citrus, thyme and date flavors is truly unique, and the presentation with fresh orange rounds and thyme is so pretty. I’m thinking this would make a really fabulous Rosh Hashanah entree!
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- 6 large chicken pieces, bone in, skin on I prefer leg/thigh quarters
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp mustard Dijon or yellow
- 2 tsp orange zest
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch fresh thyme divided
- 3 large navel oranges divided
- 2/3 cup date honey syrup
- If using chicken leg quarters, I generally like to remove the "knuckle" end of the drumstick bone before cooking. It makes for a more elegant presentation on the dinner table. To do this, use a sharp chef's knife to carefully slice around the bottom knuckle of the bone, cutting through the skin and tendons. Then, grasp the cartilage area with a towel and pull strongly, twisting to remove it, and discard. FYI, this may take some practice and a bit of elbow grease. Be very careful with the knife when you are making the slice around the bone-- you don't want to slip!
- Whisk together orange juice, hot sauce, 3 tbsp olive oil, mustard, orange zest, 1/2 tsp salt and pinch of black pepper to form a marinade. Place chicken pieces into a plastic zipper bag or into a ceramic or glass dish. Pour marinade over the chicken and add 6-8 sprigs of thyme. Seal the bag (if using) or cover the dish with plastic wrap. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 3 hours, up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Remove chicken from marinade and discard the excess marinade. Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces skin side down, three pieces at a time, and let them cook for 5-10 minutes until the skin is nicely browned. Remove from skillet and repeat with remaining 3 pieces. Remove the skillet from heat.
- Lightly grease a roasting pan or dish. Slice two of the large navel oranges into rounds and lay them on a single layer, covering the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle some thyme sprigs into the bottom of the roasting pan as well (reserve some for the final platter/garnish).
- Place the chicken back into the pan, skin side up. Brush each piece generously with date honey.Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes, basting the chicken every 15 minutes with more date honey.
- After 45 minutes the chicken should be cooked through and internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees F (I usually cook it to 170). If not, re-cover and continue to cook until it reaches temperature.Uncover the chicken. Baste once more with remaining date honey. increase heat to 500 degrees F and cook for 5-10 more minutes until the date glaze is bubbly and shiny. Keep a close eye to make sure the glaze doesn't burn, it contains a lot of natural sugar and will blacken if you're not careful.
- Slice up the remaining orange. Serve each piece of chicken garnished with a fresh orange slice and fresh thyme sprigs.