Roast Chicken with Blood Oranges and Red Onion

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

In this recipe, a compound butter—softened butter combined with thyme, orange zest and garlic—adds flavor to a roast chicken for a one-dish meal that’s easy enough for a weeknight but also elegant enough for guests. Blood oranges add their beautiful crimson hue to the dish, but you can use navel or Valencia oranges if blood oranges aren’t available.


  • 2 blood oranges
  • 1 chicken, about 4 lb. (2 kg)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced, plus unpeeled cloves from 1 garlic head
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) slices
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat an oven to 450°F (220°C).

Grate the zest from one of the oranges, then cut the zested orange in half crosswise. Cut the remaining blood orange into rounds about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Set aside the zest, orange halves and orange slices separately.

Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and place the blood orange halves and 2 of thyme sprigs inside the chicken cavity. Tuck the wing tips behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the grated orange zest, minced garlic, chopped thyme, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the butter and mash with a fork until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using your fingers, rub the butter mixture evenly all over the chicken.

In a large ovenproof fry pan, scatter the orange slices, whole garlic cloves, onion, the 4 remaining thyme sprigs and the bay leaves. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Place the chicken, breast side up, in the pan. Sprinkle the chicken with more salt and pepper.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170°F (77°C), about 30 minutes longer. If the skin begins to darken too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve immediately with the roasted oranges, garlic, cloves and onion alongside. Serves 4.

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