Chicken thighs, root vegetables, and then adding some sweet and tangy maple glaze into a roasting tin and the result will be a delicious dish. It isn’t only for root vegetables that this dish is so special, in fact it is orange juice which make chicken sticky. Does it sound strange “sticky”? Maybe when you pronounce this descriptive adjective, but not when you try the sticky orange chicken, because the orange juice makes the difference, makes it amazingly savory.
Tip: Parsnips are in season now until March and if you want to choose the best ones Go for small to medium parsnips, as larger ones can be fibrous, and always choose firm, rather than limp or shrivelled examples. Avoid those with lots of whiskers or brown patches as this indicates that they may well be rotten. Regarding storing in a perforated bag in the fridge – they’ll last for around a week. Parsnips time limit to roast is not more than 45 minutes.
- 2 blood oranges, 1 juiced, 1 thickly sliced
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tbsp cranberry or redcurrant jelly, melted
- 2 parsnips, quartered, peeled and the core cut out and discarded
- 4 chicken thighs, skin on
- 140g small shallots, left whole but peeled
- 2 thyme sprigs, broken up a bit
- 25g pecans, barely chopped
- mixed leaf salad or wilted spinach, to serve (optional)
- cooked rice, to serve (optional)
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Juice 1 of the oranges and whisk together with the maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and cranberry jelly. Cut the parsnips into chunky lengths. Put the parnips, chicken thighs and shallots in a roasting tin – make sure everything can sit in a single layer but quite snug. Drizzle over half the orange sauce with some seasoning and toss to coat everything. Roast for 35 mins.
- Remove the tin from the oven and poke the orange slices in among everything. Scatter over the thyme and drizzle over the rest of the orange sauce. Roast for another 15 mins until the chicken is tender and cooked through, and everything is sticky and golden. Mix in the pecans and cook for another 5 mins. Serve straight away, remembering to scrape out all the sticky juices from the tin, and eat with a mixed leaf salad or some wilted spinach, plus a little rice to soak up the sauce, if you like.