Blood Orange Bourbon Chicken {A Recipe}

I talked yesterday about my reflections and goals for the new year, and with that, I’ve been thinking a lot about my little Freckled Fork blog.

I think when I first introduced the FF blog last year, I wanted to create a space where I could explore all areas of food…cooking food, eating food, sharing food experiences, and writing about food. I think I’ll continue on that path for 2019 and see what the year brings…hopefully some clarity and focus:)

In reflection, I realized that when I looked at my own blog-reading habits, I personally do not read blogs anymore. If I’m searching for a recipe, I definitely “skip to recipe” or scroll past all the writing to the goods at the bottom of the post. (I KNOW.)

All that to say, I think for 2019, when I share a recipe, I’ll try my darndest to make it short & sweet, giving you the recipe “above the fold” if you will<3 Here we go:

Blood Orange Bourbon Chicken

Alternative Name: Old Fashioned Chicken 🙂
Inspired by and adapted from one of my favorite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. Using ingredients I had on hand, subbing a few for a different twist (an ode to one of my favorite go-to cocktails), here’s my take on his Roasted Chicken w/Clementines & Arak. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Keyword: blood oranges, bourbon chicken, Chicken
Servings: 4
Author: jess masanotti


  • 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Small Meyer Lemon, Juiced
  • 2 Small Blood Orange, 1 Juiced + 1 sliced into rings (w/rind)
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, leaves pinched off
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard or Grainy Mustard
  • 2 Tsp Brown Sugar
  • S & P
  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb, trimmed + halved + cut into medium slices
  • 1 lb. Boneless Chicken Thighs (skin on is best, but skinless works too!)
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Parsley, leaves pinched off + loosely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
  • Basmati Rice


  • Marinade // In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice, orange juice, thyme, mustard and brown sugar. Sprinkle chicken thighs with salt & pepper. Add in fennel slices and blood orange slices to the chicken and pour marinade over top of the chicken, fennel, orange slices. Cover and shake to combine. 
    NOTE: If you have time, let the chicken rest in the marinade for 1+ hours before cooking. If not, totally fine, I’ve made this both ways and it’s good even if you let it marinate for the 10-15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Transfer the chicken mixture to a large roasting pan. If using skin-on chicken, make sure the skin is facing up. Arrange fennel & orange slices around and on top of chicken.
  • Roast for 35 minutes, until chicken is browned and cooked through. Using a meat thermometer, chicken should read around 165 degrees before you remove it. 
  • Once cooked through, spoon out chicken, fennel and orange slices on a serving tray and cover to keep warm. Pour the remaining liquid into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir in Bourbon (or Rye Whiskey). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Feel free to spoon out any residual fat that rests on the top of the liquid.
  • Pour blood orange/Bourbon liquid over the chicken, top with parsley. Serve over Basmati Rice or Cauliflower Rice if GF.

Sorry, one more note of interest.

Did you know that only 5 people in the world know the full recipe for THE Angostura Bitters? To this day, The House of Angostura bottles up bitters using the same recipe Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (a medic in the Prussian army) came up with in Angostura, Venezuela back in 1824.

Rumor has it that the actual recipe uses over 40 ingredients. These 5 people made a pact to never fly on a plane together, or to even eat in the same restaurant. No joke. Everything is secretly gathered, mixed and bottled in their headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago.

Another fun note is that Siegert originally concocted the mixture to help digestive issues and it was also known to ward off mosquitos when rubbed on the skin. The more you know. <3

Let me know if you get around to trying the recipe and how it turns out!

Word(s) for 2019

The new year is funny. Honestly, January 1 is just another day. I mean, in reality, we get a new chance, a new fresh start, every time the sun sets and we are blessed to wake with a new morning…Every. Day.

Whether it’s September 15th, April 2nd or February 22nd, we have the choice each time we wake to approach the day as one with a purpose, a plan, a goal.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of expectation and anticipation that comes with the new calendar year. I used to set silly goals that made me laugh, lofty goals I never would be able to achieve without a large random rain of cash or even some easy peasy ones so that I could feel accomplished.

This year, I knew better than to approach the new year with those mindsets. I feel like at 35 years old, I’m closer to knowing who I am, accepting it and finding a way to be proud of it. For the most part this year, I’ve avoided comparing myself to others, I feel the most comfortable in my skin than I ever have, I have a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. I’ve taken a wide range of “discover yourself” tests, classes, etc. I’m an “I/D” on the Disc, I’m an “influencer/relationship builder” on StrengthsFinder, I’m an ENFJ on Myers Briggs, I’m a 3w2 on the Enneagram, I’m a “Performer” on the Sparketype…on and on and on. I need no more tests to tell me who I am…they all say the same thing…so, I get it now.

This year, I began the new year approaching goals for 2019 in a more reflective way. My friend, Keia, passed along this incredibly helpful resource, Unravel Your Year by Susannah Conway. Over the holiday break, with coffee in hand and a quiet place to work, I dove into reflecting on 2018…What did I embrace? What did I let go of? What changed? What am I most grateful for? Accomplishments? What have I learned? Situations that tested your limits? Favorite moments? etc…

My word or intention for 2018 was Kintsugi…the art of repairing broken pottery with gold, but more abstractly applied to my life. Healing took place and all of those “discover yourself” tests also played their part as well. Healing happened, this blog happened, Freckled Fork dinner parties & catering gigs happened, travel happened…this year was Exciting…full of Experiences…and full of Growth.

As I thought of my plans for 2019, the exercise that helped me the most was the YES/NO lists of “Things I’m saying YES to in 2019” and “Things I’m saying NO to in 2019”. YES to my health (mental & physical), YES to discipline and pulling away from the social media suck, YES to a manageable work schedule, YES to reading actual books, YES to intentional friendships, boundaries, patience & grace and a LOT of fun w/Amelia & Jay.

NO to debt, NO to social media binging, NO to excessive screen time, NO to selfishness and anger, NO to needing to be in control, NO to over-committing, NO to fear and an unhealthy focus on my body.

Instead of choosing one word or intention for this year, I had a FEW that kept resurfacing throughout my time of reflection. I did choose one main intention and then a few additional words to help me focus on certain areas of my life:


My main word for the year….to clarify & improve, to remove impurities, to make better, more defined. I love the life we have built so far, I am beginning to like who I am and speak life into who I want to be. I don’t need nor want a major life overhaul, I need refinement, discipline. All areas of my life could use some refining at this point.


My intention for my work life in 2019 — to improve & grow by attention, labor & practice. I’ve been a graphic designer now going on 15+ years, I don’t want to get comfortable or lazy in that work. I want to grow and improve. And who knows what this year has in store for The Freckled Fork?! Not me, but I know I want to continue practicing, reading and learning everything I can about food, cooking and the joy of being around the table.


My intention for my health & for my relationships in 2019 — to cherish, foster, strengthen and build. I crave discipline and intention to move my body and stay strong. I need to watch less TV (rewatching 90210 should NOT take priority over real life:) I want to nourish my relationships with my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends.


This word kept coming up in one form or another and in my desires for our home and for our finances in 2019 — to create an atmosphere of well-being, warmth & coziness, being at peace & able to enjoy simple pleasures; being IN THE PRESENT. We moved in our new home and neighborhood (Shoutout to Oakhurst!) a year ago and of course, things are still not fully “together” and functional like we would want. So this year, room by room, I want to start that process. Finances are CRAZY. Last year we were HEAVILY burdened by a crazy tax bill and frankly, still trying to climb out of that madness, so for finances, I want to go back to the place where we were disciplined with our spending, living MORE with less, doing life and making intentional decisions as to where our money will go.

I know this post is WAY longer than my usual and not really about food at all, but accountability comes with sharing out the plans we have, so I guess if anything, I’ve typed this out for my little slice of the blogging world to see in a way to hold myself accountable. To “speak” it all into existence.

Happy 2019! What’s your intention for the year?

And because this is primarily a food blog, here’s a picture of food. Not just ANY food, but my very first attempt at making dessert. I’m terrible at baking (the precision is my weakness), but new year, new goals, new risks…Here’s my first attempt at Lemon Ginger Bars. They were incredible. <3

Ring Around the Cranberries {Recipe}


I am a terrible baker.

Seriously, if it involves flour, sugar, sweets and an oven, I am screwed. There’s something about the precision of it all, I’m a mess and it usually turns out to be incredibly inedible.

But I WANT to bake.

I find myself WANTING that discipline and structure necessary for baking {side note: and probably for life in general as well…probably}.

It snowed a half inch last night and the City of Charlotte SHUT DOWN, per usual. The threat of fluffy white stuff causes the people of the QC to lose. their. damn. minds. closing and cancelling everything. Welcome to the South…#blessed.

Snow makes me want to bake, so here you go. My half(ish) attempt at baking and it turned out pretty tasty and with beautiful colors, too, so I’m documenting it!



Ring Around the Cranberries

A savory, sweet tart that’s perfect for breakfast or even a late night dessert.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: apple, cranberry, crescent rolls, goat cheese, holiday appetizer, holiday breakfast, holiday desserts
Servings: 4
Author: jess masanotti


  • 1 Crescent Roll Package 8 Triangles
  • 1.5 Cup Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 Medium Apple, cored & chopped I LOVE Honey Crisp
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Honey Chèvre I love the Trader Joes version!
  • (Optional) Whipped Cream
  • 1 Egg for Egg Wash Whisk egg and cold water together to brush on roll.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Fill a small saucepan with cranberries. Add enough water to cover the berries and cook on high heat. Bring berries to a rolling boil, cook for 8 minutes.
  • On a sheet pan, arrange crescent roll triangles in a circle with the wide part in the middle, like a star.
  • Add diced apples and cinnamon to cranberry mix. Stir and reduce heat to medium and cook another 2 minutes.
  • Spoon cran-apple mix on the crescent rolls. Drizzle with honey and crumbled goat cheese.
  • Fold over crescent triangle points to the middle, enveloping the cran-apple mix.
  • Brush with egg wash and place in oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes
  • Remove and drizzle with remaining honey. Serve with whipped cream<3