Roast Citrus, Ginger and Honey Chicken

Main | March 4, 2017 | By

What is it about a roast chicken that warms the hearts of so many of us?  There is something so iconic and comforting about a roast chicken.  Just knowing that a chicken is roasting away in the kitchen is already a soothing fact, for probably the entire family.  At least it was for me, even at the age of eight!  When I found out that we were having roast chicken for dinner, that knowledge kept me going from breakfast, through recess, math class, that geography test, and the walk home.

When I’m at the market and pick out a Mennonite farm raised chicken roaster from Witteveen Butchers at St Lawrence Market, I get giddy thinking about how I might prepare it.  There are so many possibilities.  This last week at the market though, I had clearly in mind my goal: the Roast Citrus, Ginger and Honey Chicken from Simple by Diana Henry.  It would be the last recipe I would make in February for our Rainy Day Bites cookbook club.  Don’t those flavours just call out to you?!  Along with the citrus, ginger and honey, there are also garlic and hot sauce involved.  A real party of flavours.

It’s a pretty easy recipe to prepare.  No fancy chicken prep needed.  Just a pan that it can fit snugly into.  This is because as Diana mentions, if the pan is too big, the cooking juices around the bird will burn.  A sticky mess.  So out came a pie plate this time around.  You mix up all the marinade ingredients and pour some into the bird and the rest over and around the bird.  And then you bake it.  That’s it.  The fun part comes when you also prepare orange (or any citrus you will enjoy as a side dish) wedges and roast them in another pan, next to that chicken.  They become brilliantly caramelized and softened.  If they are truly thin skinned, feel free to eat the whole wedge!

I decided that my only departure from the original recipe would be replacing the hot sauce with Entube Harissa paste.  Diana doesn’t specify which hot sauce to use, so feel free to go the Sriracha route, Mexican or Korean hot sauce route, or as one fellow cookbook club member did, by using Frank’s Hot Sauce!  I just couldn’t help thinking that Harissa would be the perfect flavour balance to the honey and ginger.  And boy was it ever!  It didn’t overpower at all, but you definitely knew it was there!  I served the chicken with five spice powder infused basmati rice, and steamed broccoli.  Adding some of the orange wedges to the cooked broccoli, and then drizzling these with some of the orange and ginger sauce made for a perfect side dish.

So add this to your Roast Chicken recipes.  It’s great to have a well stocked arsenal of roast chicken options.  I know I like having options, because I could have roast chicken once a week!  Really!!

Love Jen.


Roasted Citrus, Ginger and Honey Chicken

One of the most aromatic roast chickens you'll ever make!  Sweet, spicy, tangy all combine in a marinade which creates a glorious glaze that turns a stunning amber to dark and glossy.  The side of roasted orange wedges drizzled with ginger, brown sugar and olive oil makes a lovely accompaniment. 


  • 4 lb chicken
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey the kind that is liquidy
  • 1 1/2 tbsp hot sauce I used Entube Harissa paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
  • finely grated zest from two oranges I used these oranges to help make up the above juice
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water, if needed
  • 4 thin skinned oranges
  • olive oil
  • ground ginger
  • soft brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

    Pat dry the inside and outside of the chicken.  Place into a baking or roasting pan which will snuggly hold the bird.  If it is too large, then the cooking juices and marinade will burn while roasting.

  2. Whisk the orange juice through to the salt and pepper in a pitcher.

    Pour some of this into the bird, and then 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken, reserving the remainder for later on.

    Roast for 45 minutes.

  3. While the chicken is roasting, prepare the orange wedges:

    Cut the thin skinned oranges into wedges and put them into an ovenproof dish where they can lie in a single layer.  Sprinkle them all with some olive oil, ground ginger and some salt and pepper.  Turn them to coat well. Then sprinkle them with the brown sugar.

  4. After 45 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven, scoop up the sticky juices around it with a spoon and spread this over the skin.  Add the rest of the orange juice marinade to the pan, stirring them to blend well.  Return to the oven, along with the pan of orange wedges.

  5. After another 45 minutes have passed, and you have basted the chicken a few times more, check for doneness.  The internal temperature should be 170F and juices from the thigh should run clear.  If this is not the case, roast for another 15 minutes (it took me 15 minutes more to achieve the required doneness)

    Remove from the oven to rest.  At the one hour mark, the orange wedges should also be done.

  6. While the chicken is resting on a warm platter for a good 15 minutes, loosely tented with foil, you can tend to the sauce:

    If the juices in the pan seem too thick or intense, add the stock or water to the pan, set it over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dislodge any bits at the bottom of the pan. (If your pan cannot sit on a stove burner, transfer juices to a pot and continue with cooking with the stock or water.) Cook until desired consistency is reached.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Serve in a pitcher.  Add the orange wedges around the chicken.


  1. Leave a Reply

    Albert Trotter
    March 12, 2017

    i have tried this yesterday..its taste was actually very delicious but my chicken remained a bit under cooked internal temperature was 170F and juices from the it was actually running…what could be the reason ???is that the size of chicken that caused this??

    • Leave a Reply

      March 13, 2017

      Hi Albert 🙂 Roasting chicken can be a funny thing. You follow all the instructions, you have the temperature set, and it’s in the oven for long enough. And yet, parts of it may still be underdone. AAGGH. All I can say, do you have a oven thermometer set inside your oven to confirm the oven temp? Just because we have it set at a certain temperature, doesn’t mean that the internal temperature is actually in agreement. If you used your thermometer to measure the chicken, it may depend on where you measured it. And yes, the larger the bird, definitely the longer it will take to reach full cooking near the bones. When you say the juices were running, were they clear juices? If so, then that’s not a bad thing. If they still had colour, then the bird still needed cooking. Also, when were the juices running- when you tested the bird with your thermometer?, Then that’s fine. If the juices were running afterwards, when you cut into it, it’s because you didn’t let the bird rest long enough to let the juices redistribute throughout the bird. But you know this I’m sure. I would say, you were working with a bird that was larger than the recipe was set for. For instance, I knew my bird was larger than the recipe called for, so I easily left it in an extra 15 minutes. I’m so sorry it wasn’t completely cooked through for you. When that happens to me, I just add that meat along with the carcass into the stew pot for stock!! Hope this helps. Love Jen

  2. Leave a Reply

    March 5, 2017

    I am waiting on this roast chicken in my oven right now. The smell is delicious and I had a taste of those oranges when I decided to flip them, the little heat with the sweetness of the oranges seems like a wonderful combination. I am with you on the having to wait an extra 15 minutes. because so far the juices are still very liquid and the chicken is not golden yet. another 22 minutes and I’ll see what to do next. I didn’t have harrissa so i ended up using just a regular hot sauce and I lessened the amount to one tablespoon since my children won’t eat spicy food yet.

    • Leave a Reply

      March 6, 2017

      Hi Maysa. I hope it turned out perfectly for you. I find, especially when cooking whole chicken, the cooking times stated in recipes needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Each bird is unique- I may be baking a bird slightly larger or smaller that called for, and oven temps are not often 100% accurate. Better that we just pay attention to our own bird as it is roasting. I’m sure you’ll find that the hot sauce you chose will be just fine. And if you like the flavours, and want to switch it up, try brushing chicken thighs or legs with the marinade and roasting those up- it will go faster! Love Jen

      • Leave a Reply

        March 6, 2017

        The bird was delicious, it did take longer than required. but I know that my oven always asks for more time than the recipes state. the chicken came out very juicy, the flavors were amazing sweet with a hint of spiciness. Now those oranges I was skeptical, I made them and took them out of the oven while the bird was still cooking and had a piece, and I thought its fine nothing amazing. Well little did I know that I would keep craving that flavor and we ate the whole thing. Thumbs Up Jen, amazing recipe indeed

        • Leave a Reply

          March 7, 2017

          I’m so glad that you enjoyed it Maysa. And it’s really pretty easy to bring together. So happy to share. Usually, when my hubby gives it a thumbs up, then I know that it’s not just me that likes it, and that I can be confident that you all will love it as well. Have a fab day. Love Jen

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