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Citrus Chicken with Carrots, Prunes and Pistachios

Citrus chicken with carrots, prunes & pistachios is a treat for the eyes, taste buds and cook (make-ahead). The flavors blend beautifully and the presentation is eye-popping.

If you’re looking for a great dinner party chicken recipe for your next family or friends event, this citrus chicken dish is a great choice.

company chicken with citrus, carrots, prunes and pistachios

The recipe is by Jennifer Segal, a favorite chef of mine from Once Upon a Chef who adapted it from a New York Times recipe by Melissa Clark.  I’ve blended the two versions with an extra tweak or two.

What to expect

The chicken features oranges and lemons for zest, honey and prunes for sweetness, grainy mustard, garlic, onion and thyme for depth and red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.  

Add a little crunch, color and extra flavor from toasted pistachios, carrots and parsley and you get an earthy, complex and beautiful dish that is certainly company worthy.

Count on some really good chicken with sweet and tangy citrus notes.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

oranges, lemons, garlic, prunes, onion, pistachios, carrots, green onions, parsley.
Plus chicken pieces (not pictured).

Chicken: I love to use kosher whole chicken pieces for this citrus chicken recipe because it is brined and more flavorful. But any fresh plump bone-in cut of chicken will work – bone-in chicken breasts, legs, etc.

Fruits and Vegetables: We’re using citrus fruit – lemon (including the rinds if blanched) and oranges as well as prunes which add good dietary fiber. Carrots add bright color to the dish along with green onions.

Fresh herbs: Use a good amount of parsley or cilantro for garnish.

A few substitutes and variations to consider.

  • Play with the seasonings. For example, add a Moroccan profile with some cumin, cinnamon and coriander.
  • Substitute the prunes with dates, apricots or raisins.
  • Substitute lemon juice with lime juice.
  • Thicken the sauce slightly if you like with a cornstarch slurry. I always do this.
  • To make the dish more sauce-y, add extra orange juice or broth.

Step by step instructions

slices lemons in water in pot.
Blanch sliced lemons on the stove.
company chicken and veggies marinating in ziploc.
.Make the citrus marinade in a large bowl. Add the fruits and vegetables. Place chicken in the bowl and toss well to coat evenly. Transfer to one or two large zipper lock bags or marinate directly in the bowl, covered. Marinate for 6 hours or overnight in fridge. See shortcut.
company chicken pieces with veggies citrus and fruit in pan before baking.
Roast chicken at 400F/204C for 35-40 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes when ready to serve.
roasted chicken with carrots citrus prunes and pistachios on plate
Garnish with pistachios and green onions. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
company chicken breast with carrots citrus and pistachios with broccoli on plate.

Tips

The blanched lemon is optional, but very worth it I think, especially if you like lemon. When blanched, the lemon rind adds a deep but mellow lemon bite with no bitterness.

Fresh citrus juices will give you the best flavor.

What to serve with citrus chicken

The recipe is forgiving, so a little more of this, a little less of that is fine. Serve the chicken with couscous, curried rice, knishes with root vegetable mash, noodles, microwave green beans, mashed potatoes or quinoa. Or just a big salad.

If you’re entertaining, here’s an article on how to keep food warm that might be helpful. 

Shortcuts

  • Skip the marinating if you have little time (but flavors will be milder, not as intense). If you don’t marinate, consider buying kosher chicken if you can as it is brined and more flavorful.
  • Buy matchstick carrots or slice them a little thicker and microwave them for a few minutes before roasting them with the chicken.

Make Ahead

The whole dish can be made a day ahead (or in the morning) and popped into the oven before serving, making this chicken dish a real stress-reducer for entertaining. Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Other party chicken recipes

When ready to serve it the next day, add mint to taste and the orange juice. The fruit salad will keep in the fridge for a day or so.
company chicken breast with carrots citrus and pistachios with broccoli on plate.
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4.74 from 42 votes

Citrus Chicken with Carrots, Prunes and Pistachios

Citrus chicken with carrots, prunes & pistachios is a treat for the eyes, taste buds and cook (make-ahead). The flavors blend beautifully and the presentation is eye-popping.
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
marinating time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds (1.8kg) raw chicken pieces

Citrus Chicken Marinade

  • 1 lemon (for lemon zest and juice) or lime zest and juice
  • 1 large orange (for orange zest and juice) for extra sauce add more fresh orange juice (extra 1/2 – 1 orange)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 6 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less, to taste)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch slurry (optional), Note 1 I do this

Vegetables/Fruits

  • 3 cups (450g) carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick or less)
  • 1 lemon, to be cut up and blanched (optional, but great!)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup prunes, roughly chopped (or use dates, raisins or apricots)

Garnish

  • 1/4 cup (12g) chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped

Instructions

  • PREPARE MARINADE: Put all marinade ingredients in large resealable plastic bag or container. Squish it around to blend ingredients.
  • PREPARE VEGETABLES/FRUIT: For blanched lemon: cut lemon into quarters and remove seeds. Slice each quarter into thin wedges. Place into small pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then drain. Add lemon wedges, prunes, carrots and onions to the bag with the marinade.
  • MARINATE CHICKEN: Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels then add to bag with marinade. Seal and massage to coat chicken, fruits and vegetables well. Place in fridge to marinate for 6 hours or overnight. If short on time, marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • ROAST CHICKEN: Preheat oven to 400F/204C. Prepare a rimmed pan lined with foil and sprayed with oil. Transfer chicken, marinade and vegetables to pan Chicken skin side up. Roast for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Cooking time will depend on size of chicken pieces.. An instant thermometer piercing the breast should an internal temperature of 155-160F. Stir carrots. Turn on broiler. Leave chicken on middle rack. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until crispy, golden brown (watching carefully so it doesn't burn).
  • GARNISH AND SERVE: Place chicken, vegetables and sauce onto a platter. Garnish with parsley, green onions and pistachios. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  1. To thicken Sauce with cornstarch slurry (optional): If you prefer as slightly thickened sauce like I do, add a slurry of cornstarch to the marinade (1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with one tbsp. water) and mix it in well. I always do this. 
  2. Variations:
    • Play with the seasonings. For example, add a Moroccan profile with some cumin, cinnamon and coriander. 
    • Substitute the prunes with dates, apricots or raisins..
  3. Make Ahead: The whole dish can be made a day ahead (or in the morning) and popped into the oven before serving.
 
Nutritional daily values are estimates.

Nutrition

Calories: 750kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 1416mg | Potassium: 1090mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 13790IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

This recipe has been updated. It used to be called Company Chicken with Citrus Sauce and Pistachios.

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13 Comments

  1. High marks for this recipe – we served it at our passover seder and shared with friends – got rave reviews from everyone!

  2. I thought I read somewhere (but now I can’t find it) that if you want to serve this to vegetarians, you just add sweet potatoes to the marinade and leave out the chicken. Is that correct?

    1. Hi Barbara, Serving this as a vegetarian dish didn’t occur to me, but it’s an interesting idea. You can skip the marinating of course. Please let us know if you try it and how it worked!

  3. 5 stars
    Gorgeous, and so full of flavour! Best chicken recipe I’ve ever had! I added a little extra orange just to the marinade for extra sauce.. glad I did😋

  4. 5 stars
    My daughter Townsand and I made this for our family tonight. The prep through the end product brought us so much joy! It almost killed me following a recipe exactly as written but, boy am I glad that we did. Perfection. Thank you !

    1. I’m delighted to hear the recipe worked so well. But most of all that you enjoyed making it so much with your daughter. Such a lovely comment!

  5. This is a delicious recipe!!!
    I added a little cumin, a bay leaf and white wine to the broth. I used mixed dried fruits (great for the indecisive like me!) I raised the heat to 425F for the last ten minutes, which had the effect of browning the chicken, so it only needed one minute under the broiler. I also removed most of the blanched lemon peel before baking, as it has done it’s magic already…
    Some other ideas:
    – This recipe feeds a lot of people… so if it’s just two of you for dinner, try dividing it into portions and freeze it for a “snowy” day. (I will report on the results in the dead of winter!)
    – if you do this,maybe double the marinade, as some of it will get absorbed further into the chicken and it may not be as saucy as you would like once defrosted and baked. Do you think it would work to freeze half of the marinade separately, to add to the defrosted chicken and veg on that cold January day? 🙂
    – you could also add sweet potatoes to the recipe…
    This is a delicious recipe, definitely suitable for company! Thanks 2 Kooks!! 🙂

  6. Added a few extra legs to make sure I had leftovers and everyone raved about it. My husband says it’s the best chicken he’s ever had!

  7. The citrusy chicken was great. I made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts (which cause they were crowded in a big pyrex dish still took about 35-40 minutes but remained juicy. I made it with Jerusalem couscous and had it the couscous with the veggies and sauce on the 3rd day.