The Chicken Zen Zone

This riff on Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Orange is based on a recipe from famed Italian chef/author Lidia Bastianich. It’s infused with scents and flavors that I associate with comfort, family and joyous occasions. My mom used to make a Sunday supper of Orange-Juice Chicken that was my favorite meal growing up. Over the ensuing years, I’ve made many a roasted chicken with a similar flavor profile. Here’s yet one more with the surprising ingredient of orange liqueur.


As it’s roasting, the fragrance wonderfully perfumes the air both indoors and out. Luckily, dinner is ready in about one hours time, so you won’t have to wait all afternoon to indulge in the memorable feast. Good God almighty, it was fantastic! The skin was sooo crispy, the meat soooo succulent, and the sauce soooo flavorful—you can’t help but enter the “Zen Zone” while savoring every morsel, seriously!

While this would be equally good with garlicky mashed potatoes or creamy polenta, we paired it with our favorite Baked Rice, recipe below. If you don’t have a double-oven, allowing you to cook both the chicken and the rice at the same time, lower the temp to 400° once you remove the chicken. Make sure to have completed steps 1 through 3 at this point. As the covered chicken rests on a platter and you make the sauce, the rice can cook for the allotted 15 minutes.

IMG_3659Using kitchen shears, cut out the back bone. Save it, the neck, and wing tips for the freezer body bag for the next time you make homemade chicken stock.

End up with two wings (minus the tips), two thighs, two legs, and four breast quarters.

Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Orange

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: relatively easy
  • Print


  • 4 1/2-pound chicken, (with neck, optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
  • Juice of 1 small fresh orange
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chicken Stock, preferably homemade


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a roasting pan on the middle rack to heat up.
  2. Cut the chicken into pieces. Season the chicken all over with salt and some pepper.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, brown the chicken pieces on both sides in batches, about 2-3 minutes per side, removing to a plate as they are done.
  4.  Put all of the dark  meat (not the breast pieces) in the roasting pan, skin side down, and roast 20 minutes.
  5. Turn the dark meat and add the breast pieces, skin side up, and roast until the skin is very brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Turn the breast pieces skin side down and roast 10 minutes more.
  6. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. Heat the roasting pan on the stove-top over medium-high heat; and add the butter to the pan juices. As soon as it melts, add the rosemary.
  7. Once the rosemary is sizzling, add the Grand Marnier and orange juice. Bring to a boil and add the chicken stock.
  8. Boil and whisk to bring the sauce together and thicken it slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Strain the sauce and spoon over the chicken and serve. (We didn’t bother to strain the sauce as it didn’t seem necessary.)


Baked Rice

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Baked Rice (Arroz al Horno)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 cup Valencian (or Arborio) short-grain rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 11/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • A few strands of saffron, crumbled
  • Kosher or sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep casserole, and then add the onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice coating it with the oil.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and 1 cup water, stir in the parsley, thyme, saffron, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from the flame, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s