Tangy? Sweet? Salty? Spicy? Sometimes, you just want ALL THE FLAVORS. This braise, combining a seemingly random assortment of ingredients, hits all those notes and delivers deep, complex flavor. The result is tender, falling-off the bone chicken nestled in a sauce that is boldly delicious.
I keep encountering in-season kumquats on sale and cannot resist the temptation to purchase. I love eating these sweet-tart wonders raw (rinds and all), slicing them to top salads or oatmeal, or halving them to infuse water. After exhausting all of my typical uses, I had an epiphany that they would make a great savory sauce, particularly for a braise. Because it is late-winter with apparently no warmth in sight, I wanted a dish that was bold and bright – a perfect foil to March’s endless dreariness. Success!
The sweet dates, tangy kumquats, and briny olives form a perfect triumvirate of bold flavor in this braise. The cumin and cinnamon provide warm and spicy undertones that ground the bold flavors, and the rosemary adds a note of pine-y freshness. The kumquat rinds literally melt into the sauce here, with no jarring bitterness that you may encounter with other citrus rinds.
Serve the chicken and a heaping spoonful of the sauce over quinoa or other grain to soak up the sauce. If you want to make this dish vegetarian/vegan, I am confident this braise would be equally delicious with chickpeas and maybe cauliflower for added bulk. If you cannot find kumquats, use 1 orange and 1 lemon instead, sliced very thinly.