Clementines and Thyme

Clemen-Thyme Roasted Chicken & Citrus-Scented Mushrooms and Tofu En Papilotte

Whew.  Say that three times fast.

Continuing with our citrus fest, let’s move on the main show, shall we?  If you remember from last time, Whole Foods sponsored a little bit of experimentation using their fresh, in-season clementines and satsumas.  And with these beautiful little balls of sunshine, we made a delightful feast.

Citrus Dinner Menu

So we covered the berry punch with clementine syrup (which I already have another request for—as one of our New Year’s Eve cocktails) and our lovely fresh satsuma, almond and goat cheese plate (still one of my favorite appetizers ever).

But there was more.  Oh, so much more.  I’d been wanting for a while to make a thyme-roasted chicken dish and figured that adding a bit of citrus would make it even better.  And I was right.

There are a few things I really love about this dish.  One, the deep citrus-y flavor that permeates the chicken entirely.  Two, fresh thyme.  Three, it was really easy.  And four, it could easily be done with pretty much any time of chicken: bone-in quarters, thighs, a whole chicken even.

I went with boneless skinless breasts because that’s what Josh likes best, but really, you could make a variety of chicken dishes with these flavors.  I marinated the breasts overnight in clementine juice and zest, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper, then just before dinner, I added all of that to a hot cast iron pan (clementine halves and all) and roasted it at 400.

The other main dish we made was vegetarian, and also something I’d been wanting to make for  a while.  I’d found this mushroom and tofu en papilotte dish from The First Mess blog and instantly wanted to make it.  (“En papilotte” means “in parchment.”)  I don’t work with tofu much but hey, that’s what experimentation is all about.  Much like the chicken, I figured a bit of citrus could liven up this dish, too.

I focused on the tofu first; it easily absorbs whatever flavors it’s cooked in, so I figured it’d be the place to start adding citrus.  I marinated it overnight in water flavored with clementine juice, zest and rosemary.  Then before dinner, I paired it with a trio of fresh, chopped mushrooms, more rosemary and clementines, garlic and seasoning.

I really liked that this dish was similar in flavor to the chicken one.  It helped keep things somewhat consistent.  I also liked that it was easy to make.  Roasting/steaming in the little parchment packages was really fun; I highly recommend.  Paul, our resident vegetarian extraordinaire, endorsed the dish and even ate the leftovers the next day for lunch.

I think next time I’ll try extra-firm tofu and a bit of red onion, but it was pretty lovely as is.  It wasn’t as citrus-y as the chicken dish.  If you are really jonesing for an orange-kick, you could up the amount of clementine, or marinate the mushrooms in clementine juice for an hour or so before cooking.

Stay tuned…for dessert!

Clemen-Thyme Roasted Chicken

Yield: 4


  • 3 fresh clementines, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsps chopped fresh thyme, plus a couple sprigs for cooking.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast


  1. Put the clementines, zest and juice in a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Add the fresh thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it a bit to mix the ingredients.
  2. Add the chicken to the bag and seal again. Place in the fridge and let marinate overnight, or for at least 4 hours prior to cooking.
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge 20 minutes before cooking and let come to room temperature.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F. Place a cast iron pan in the oven while it comes up to temperature.
  5. When the oven is ready, pour the contents of the chicken bag into the cast iron pan (clementines and all). Add in the extra sprigs of thyme. Let roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is done.
  6. Serve and eat.

Citrus-Scented Mushrooms and Tofu En Papilotte


    For marinating the tofu
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 clementines, zested and juiced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • For the rest of the dish
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 clementines, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsps pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


    Marinate the tofu
  1. Open the package of tofu and drain. Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs. Put the block of tofu in a tupperware dish with the juice and zest of the clementines and the rosemary. Cover with water, put the lid on and put the tofu in the fridge overnight.
  2. Cooking the dish
  3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  4. Drain the tofu again and press it to get the excess liquid out. Cut into squares (it'll crumble some, and that's fine). Move the tofu to a large bowl.
  5. Stem and halve the cremini, button and shiitake mushrooms. Add them to the tofu bowl, along with the garlic, the leaves from the other 2 sprigs of rosemary, the juice and zest from the clementines, and salt and pepper. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil over the mixture and carefully fold the ingredients together.
  6. Tear off a sheet of parchment paper that's about the size of a cookie sheet. Fold it in half and cut it into a heart shape. Open the paper and place about a fifth-to-a-quarter of the mushroom mixture in the center of one side of the crease. Fold the other side of the parchment paper over the mushroom mixture. Starting at the top of the heart-shape, make a small tight fold at the edge of the paper. Continue making small folds all the way down the rest of the heart until the whole pocket is sealed. Example
  7. Repeat as necessary for the rest of the mushroom mixture.
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400F. The package should be nice and puffed up by the end.
  9. Carefully unfold the parchment, standing back a bit so you don't burn yourself in the steam. Let cool and serve.

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