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This time of year Singapore is ablaze with oranges and mandarins in preparation for Chinese New Year. The fruit stalls are brimming with 'em, and both homes and businesses set mandarin bushes about in all different sizes (some ginormous), just like you would a Christmas tree. I rarely cook savory foods with orange, but with the slew or oranges about I gave it a shot this week by roasting an orange glazed chicken. And to go with it? A fresh spinach salad with orange segments, blue cheese, and walnuts.
I wasn't in the mood for roasting a whole chicken, so I made it easy and bought four whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick). First things first: an orangey marinade. To get the flavor in there I rubbed a mix of zest, oil, salt, and rosemary, which would balance the sweetness of the glaze. I let the chicken soak it up for two hours, then roasted the legs at a fairly high temperature, 450°F, to get a nice golden color on the skin.
While the chicken was cooking, I made the glaze. Straight up orange juice would do nothing for flavor, so I reduced a cup of orange juice by half and then simmered it down with some apricot preserves (you could also use honey; this is just what I had on hand) until it was a glaze consistency. When the chicken was done roasting, I brushed on the glaze then threw it under the broiler to brown it up.
This is a delicious way to enjoy chicken. The skin is crispy, the meat is flavorful, and the glaze takes on a wonderful deep burnt orange flavor that isn't cloying in the least.
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