How to make roast chicken with blood oranges, sweet potato and avocado salsa

The short but sweet season for blood oranges is upon us – and our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson has a recipe to make the most of it.

‘With their spectacular tartness, blood oranges are my favourite citrus fruit and they’re so versatile in cooking’ says Melanie.

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the chicken and sweet potato

  • 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 2 red onions, in wedges
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 sprigs lemon thyme
  • A splash rapeseed oil
  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • Juice and zest of 2 blood oranges
  • 400g chickpeas, drained
  • 1 blood orange, skin cut off and then into discs

For the salsa

  • Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, diced
  • 2 blood oranges, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbspn olive oil

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To serve

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 jalapeño


Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Cut the sweet potatoes into even-sized pieces and put them in a bowl along with the red onion, lime zest and juice, rosemary, lemon thyme and seasoning. Add a splash of rapeseed oil and mix well so that everything’s coated. Tip onto a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the chicken pieces, red pepper and blood-orange juice and zest in a bowl and season.

When the 20 minutes is up, take the sweet potatoes out of the oven and arrange the chicken pieces and pepper among them and pour the orange juice all over the tray. Return to the oven for a further 30 minutes.

Once more, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle with the chickpeas and arrange the blood-orange slices among everything else. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.

To make the salsa, stir the chopped parsley in with the diced avocado, jalapeños, blood oranges, the lime juice and olive oil, then season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the roasting tray from the oven and spoon the salsa around it.

Dot with the extra slices of avocado and extra slices of jalapeño and serve immediately.