A few years back, one of my columns was for chicken leg quarters with peperoni and fontina cheese under the skin, roasted atop a bed of potatoes and onions, with fresh thyme. I thought it was the perfect company dish, needing no attention after putting into the oven, inexpensive, and visually appealing. Every few months I still get a note from someone who had made it again and who loved it as much as I did.
Recently I had an out of town guest and invited a few of her friends to join us for dinner. Once again I went for chicken leg quarters, but with a little different touch: orange and rosemary. Instead of white potatoes, I used sweet potatoes, and added a handful of whole garlic cloves. The only other difference was that I did open the oven to brush on a marmalade glaze a couple of times near the end of the cooking time. With roasted asparagus and a salad, everyone agreed that this recipe was a keeper!
ROSEMARY CITRUS CHICKEN
4 chicken leg quarters, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices smoked gouda cheese
About 1/3 cup olive oil
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2” chunks
8 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
1 pkg fresh rosemary
1 cup orange juice
½ cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
½ cup orange marmalade
Preheat the oven to 350o. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken and slip one slice of cheese under each one. With a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, grease a baking pan just large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Place the sweet potatoes in the pan and scatter the garlic cloves among them. Place the chicken on top and brush with additional olive oil.
Finely mince one tablespoon of fresh rosemary and reserve. Tuck a large sprig under each chicken piece, reserving the rest for garnish. Pour the orange juice and white wine over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
In a small saucepan melt the marmalade and stir in the reserved chopped rosemary. When the 45 minutes are up, brush the chicken with about half the marmalade mixture. Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes. Brush again with the remaining glaze and return to the oven until chicken is golden brown, another 15 minutes or so.
Remove from the oven, tent with foil to keep warm and drain off the pan juices. Over medium high heat, reduce by half.
To serve, divide sweet potatoes among four plates, top with a chicken leg quarter and drizzle some of the pan juices over all. Garnish with remaining fresh rosemary and serve at once. Serves four.