So my aunt is coming over for Christmas. And I want to really push the boat out for her so I have made four versions of this nutmeg orange chicken recipe and this version here, this is THE version.
First – when we Africans say aunt, we mean almost any older female relation. In fact, she is my mother’s cousin but we’ve always called her aunt. Although she grew up my mum, she spent most of her life her in the UK as a midwife, and she worked here for 35 years in London, delivering who knows how many babies.
And when first came to love here, she was the person who looked after me. She was the one who I could always stay with when I was in London, she was the one who would cook Sierra Leonean food for me, and would be on the end of the telephone to talk to and to keep me up to date with what was happening with the family. I owe her a lot.
And so when she comes over, we pull out all the stops. The children (one of whom is her godchild) are on good behaviour, we make sure everything is comfortable and that she doesn’t have to do anything and we make the best food possible. And this spicy orange chicken is what will be on the menu.
How to make this Orange Chicken Recipe
Making this orange chicken is pretty easy. But to make sure it is right I did have to try it out for times. It was a success. I should show you the small pile of bones that is all that is left, but I’m afraid they’re already in a stockpot.
Tips for roasting a whole chicken
- Cover it with foil for most of the cooking time. This keeps it moist. If you brown your chicken first – that’s done without foil and you add the foil when you turn your oven down. Or vice versa if you prefer to do it the other way. Even more important for game birds like pheasant
- Keep the legs and wings tidy. This is simple physics, an object with a large surface area will cook faster than one with a relatively smaller surface area. So legs and wings sticking out will get truly burned before the main body is even half way cooked.
- Use oranges lots. This spicy 0range chicken is lovely. But even if you are not cooking orange chicken, a dash of orange juice in gravy can make it delicious; a half orange stuffed into the cavity adds a special something; a dribble of orange juice in the foil as you cook the chicken brings some sweetness. And if you haven’t got any oranges, a lemon will do.
- A good thermometer. Traditional thermometers take about a min or two to get to the right temperature, meaning that you have to open the oven for either that time or twice in a short instant. The SuperFast Thermapen thermometer is a plus here, as it takes seconds for a reliable readout.
The main thing I’ve learned about roasting things like chicken though is that recipes vary, and so do ovens. Our oven may say it is 160 degrees but the top is 175 and the bottom is probably 145. So you’ve got a 10% variation just in the oven. Which means that you’ll get a 10% variation in cooking times too.
This is the reason I always use the The SuperFast Thermapen thermometer – it tells me what temperature the roast actually is, and means I don’t have to rely on guesswork. Guidelines are that the meat is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 74C (165 F).
So here is how to make this nutmeg orange chicken recipe, Please do try it and if you do make it, then please do tag #recipesfromapantry on Instagram or twitter so that I can pop over and have a look. It is really, really awesome for me when you make any one of my recipes.
Thank you for reading my orange chicken recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue dreaming up recipes, traditional African recipes, African fusion recipes, Sierra Leone recipes, travel plans and much more for you.
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Orange Chicken Recipe Tutorial.
All the ingredients
Ingredients for the nutmeg orange chicken sauce
The nutmeg orange chicken sauce
Put the chicken in a baking dish
Brush the orange sauce on the chicken
Roast the chicken to 74°C using a Thermapen.
- 6 tbsp smooth orange juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 0.5 tsp ground all spice
- A pinch of ground cloves
- Whole cloves to stud optional
- 2 kg whole roasting chicken
Pre-heat the oven to fan-assisted 190C / 210C / 425F / gas 7.
Mix the orange juice, olive oil, garlic, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves and salt together.
Place the chicken in a roasting try and smear the marinade both outside and inside the chicken.
Roast in the hot oven for 20 mins.
Then reduce the temperature to fan-assisted 160C / 180C / 350F / gas 4, baste the chicken and roast for a further 35-40 mins or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 74C (165 F) on a thermometer and the juice run clear.
Switch off the oven leaving the door open and let the chicken rest for 15-20 mins before carving.
Cover it with foil for most of the cooking time. This keeps it moist. If you brown your chicken first – that's done without foil and you add the foil when you turn your oven on.