The recipes in our series “Homemade Gourmet” take the thought and time out of cooking without sacrificing their flavor or gourmet appeal. We’re loving this simple and elegant Cara Cara Orange Chicken recipe by Nick Evans of Macheesmo. This delightful dish will have you on your way to becoming a confident home cook in no time.
Making a roasted chicken is one of the best skills you can learn as a home cook. This Cara Cara orange spatchcock version is a great alternative to the classic roasted chicken. It’s a one-pan dinner that is simple enough for a weeknight meal but impressive enough to serve for weekend hosting. And those Cara Cara oranges add a pop of beautiful red color!
Spatchcocking, or butterflying, the chicken causes it to cook faster and more evenly, and makes it easier to carve for serving. During the last half of roasting, this chicken gets a few coats of honey orange glaze, which gives it a caramelized, beautiful skin as well as some bright citrus flavors. It’s a must-try during citrus season!
Roasted Cara Cara Orange Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds, spatchcocked)
- 2 Cara Cara oranges (sliced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 5-6 fresh potatoes (quartered)
- 1 Cara Cara orange (juiced)
- ¼ cup honey
- Preheat your oven to 425° F and place a rack on the lower middle position.
- Preparing the chicken: Using kitchen shears, cut up the back of a whole chicken (remove giblets) on both sides of the backbone, removing it completely. This allows the chicken to be spatchcocked, or butterflied, so both breasts face up.
- Add a few slices of oranges to the bottom of a large, high-walled baking dish (18x13x2-inch size works well for roasting). Place the chicken on the orange slices in the center of the dish, breast side up. Rub the chicken well with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and thyme (approximately 1/2 teaspoon each).
- Toss the cut-up parsnips, carrots, and potatoes with the remaining olive oil and spices, and spread them around the chicken in the baking dish. Add the remaining orange slices to the dish around and/or on top of the chicken.
- Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes until the skin starts to brown nicely. Then, turn the heat down to 375° F and roast the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F in the thickest part of the breast, about another 30 to 35 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked through.
- Once you turn the temperature down to 375° F, brush the chicken with orange honey glaze, and then do so again midway through roasting.
For the orange honey glaze
- While the chicken bakes at 425° F, combine the juice of one orange and ¼ cup of honey in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture reduces by half, about 8 minutes. Let cool.