This recipe affords us the opportunity to use our large Wilton stoneware casserole, which guarantees that it looks stunning on the table. Tim and Diane's pottery shop, housed in a mid-19th century limestone school house, is one of my favorite places to visit when I go home. The chicken itself is equally stunning: slowly baked with pear, leeks and orange juice, it is juicy and sweet and altogether satisfying. As Sassy Radish's original recipe notes, it's also deceivingly simple to make -- hence why we chose it for our last large dinner party.
This chicken is best served with rice (preferably brown or three-grain), which serves to soak up the juices, and a simple salad. I should add that it does not reheat that well, so I recommend adjusting the recipe to make enough for a single meal. We've made it for two with great success.
What you need (3-4 servings):
- 6 chicken legs and/or thighs
- 2 pears, cut lengthwise into eighths (don't worry if the pears aren't ripe; they will soften and sweeten during the cooking)
- 1 leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
- 4 spring onions, diced (white part only) (or other small onions)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- orange juice (at most 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
What you do:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place chicken in a Corningware or other baking dish just large enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer. Cover with the pear, leek, onion and garlic. Pour over the olive oil and enough orange juice to coat the bottom of the pan (for a 9x11" dish, you will need it least half a cup). Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Turn chicken over and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until completely cooked. If it looks dry when you turn it over, add more orange juice. Serve with its sauce.
And -- because I can't resist -- the sun setting behind the hill, from our balcony: