Ixta Belfrage's Chicken, pineapple and ’nduja bake

I love the combination of sweet and savoury (as you’ll probably have deduced if you’ve flicked through this book a few times), and there is no greater union than that of pork and pineapple. The pork here comes in the form of ’nduja, a spreadable chilli-spiked sausage from Calabria. Add chicken, pineapple, chipotle and tangerine to the mix and you’ve got yourself a party.

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Ingredients

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, at room temperature

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife

1 medium onion, halved and very thinly sliced on a mandolin

1⁄2 large, extra-ripe pineapple, peeled (300g)

4 sweet tangerines (or 2 oranges), squeezed to get 100g juice (see notes)

100g chicken bone broth, stock or water 2 tablespoons double cream
5g fresh coriander
1 lime, cut into wedges

’Nduja and chipotle paste

 

50g ’nduja paste/spread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons tomato purée/paste 1⁄2 teaspoon chipotle flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
3⁄4 teaspoon fine salt
about 20 twists of freshly ground

black pepper

Method

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C.

Put all the ingredients for the paste into a large bowl and mix together. Add the chicken, garlic and three-quarters of the sliced onion and mix well so everything is coated evenly. Tip the onions and garlic into a 28cm ovenproof cast-iron skillet or similar-sized baking dish and spread out. Place the chicken thighs on top, skin side up and spaced apart.

Cut the pineapple into 4 rounds, then cut each round into quarters, removing the hard core (you should have about 300g). Add the pineapple to the bowl with the remnants of the paste, mix to coat with whatever's left there, then arrange the pineapple around the chicken.

Pour the tangerine juice around the chicken (don’t get the skin wet), then bake for 20 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven and pour the stock or water into the pan around the chicken (again, don’t get the skin wet). Return to the oven for another 20–25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is browned and crispy. If you have a blowtorch, use it to char the pineapple a little.

Drizzle the cream into the sauce. Toss the coriander and the remaining sliced onions together with a tiny bit of oil and salt and arrange on top. Serve from the pan, with the lime wedges alongside.

Extracted from Mezcla by Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press, £26) 

All photography by Yuki Sugiura

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Get ahead

Marinate the chicken in the ’nduja and chipotle paste up to 2 days ahead, but don’t mix in the onion and garlic until you’re ready to bake.

 

Notes

I use tangerines over oranges as they have a more complex, floral flavour, but feel free to use oranges if that’s easier (use fresh fruit, though, not juice from a bottle or carton). If your tangerines/oranges aren’t particularly sweet, you may want to add some maple syrup or honey – do this when you add the stock or water.