Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken with pears, leeks and orange juice

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:

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