Brings back memories of Arles.
“A surprising and unusual chicken dish that harks back to the flavors of the Romans. Honey, spices and fish sauce. This is a dish inspired by the writings of Apicius”–
That’s the way this dish was described to us by our cooking instructor in Arles, France. It’s been four years since we were in France and I recently found this recipe while doing a cleanout of our kitchen before having everything painted inside and out. While visiting France (especially Provence) we wanted to take a cooking class and we came across this class in Arles. The kitchen looked at least 200 years old and it was such a fun class and much more interesting that some of the ones I’ve taken in kitchens all decked out with Viking equipment and sterile surroundings. Our instructor couldn’t speak English and his assistant translated everything we were to do while shopping at the street market and preparing the lunch/dinner.
I was reading up on Roman food saw where the Romans loved fish sauce that they made and that they used a lot of seasoning in their foods because a lot of the time the food would have turned rancid from improper storage and to keep their guest from tasting this, covered it up with lots of different spices. They also had no forks and ate either with their fingers or using spoons and knives. So, if you feel the urge, just pick the chicken up with your fingers and enjoy.
I decided to have my husband cook the chicken in the outdoor grill, but you can simply bake it in the oven and get very good results.
So, whether this dish dates back to Roman times or not, all I know is it was/is very tasty. I decided to make the red rice that we also made in that class.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: (Also, pictures of the kitchen in Arles) This Red Ginger Rice with Chicken Peas is what we made to go with our Honey Chicken Roman Style.
Crush the seeds in a mortar pestle until ground.
Chop up the celery leaves and put in with the other marinade ingredients.
Rub or brush mixture over both sides of the chicken.
- 1/2 tsp. cumin grains (seeds)
- 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp. anise seeds (can substitute allspice)
- 1/8 tsp. cardamon
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard with seeds
- 4 tsp. of honey
- 2 tsp. fish sauce
- 3 tsp. chopped celery leaf
- 2 tsp. wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- water for the baking dish
- Preheat oven to 400°
- As honey can burn easily due to its high sugar content, either break up your chicken into parts, or split it down the middle lengthwise and spread it out in your baking dish. This will reduce the baking time of the chicken.
- In a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin and caraway seeds till they form a rough powder, add the mustard, the honey, the fish sauce, the celery leaf and the vinegar, mix well. With a spoon and brush, cover the chicken with your sauce, top side and down. Place it in the baking dish, drizzle the olive oil, pour in a cup of water in the bottom of the dish anyplace in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
- Serve with a spoonful of the extra sauce on the side, accompanied by steamed new potatoes, carrots and leeks.
- I cooked by chicken at 375° and it took a lot longer than 45 minutes. I would recommend starting at 350° cooking for about 45 minutes then raising the temperature to 375°-400° and continue cooking until the legs are easy to move when you pick one up. Total cooking time may take 1 1/4 hours. If the chicken starts to brown to quickly, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.