In the red: blood orange peri-peri chicken

20th October 2023 | Eativity editors

Blood oranges are almost at the end of their season, which means now is the perfect time to to get one last hit of nature’s “vitamin red” into your day. Slicing into a blood orange is almost as exciting as eating one – with one quick cut, you’ll see instantly where the fruit got its name.

Beyond the alluring aesthetics, blood oranges offer some amazing nutrients that have wide-ranging protective powers. Known for their distinctive crimson-red hue, blood oranges are the only commercially available citrus fruit to contain anthocyanins, which are more commonly found in blueberries, cherries and red wine.

In addition to anthocyanins, blood oranges contain many other beneficial phytonutrients, known as phenolics (more commonly referred to as polyphenols), which have been associated with improved cardiovascular health, protection from UV cell damage and improvements in metabolic disease including type 2 diabetes, fatty liver and obesity.

Blood oranges also have a unique sweet taste with a hint of raspberry, and an aroma that’s more intense than other citrus, which makes them a great ingredient to cook with.  

“Blood oranges are beautifully sweet and tart,” chef Adelene Stahnke says. “They’re the show-stoppers of all citrus fruits. I love them for their versatility and vibrancy. They’re perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes, as well as delicious drink combinations.”

To get you started on your red recipe odyssey, try this tasty dish, courtesy of Stahnke and Redbelly Citrus. If you like heat, just add more chilli!

blood orange peri-peri chicken

Blood orange peri-peri chicken with oven roasted fennel and red onion

Preparation 10 minutes
Cook time 35-40 minutes
Serves 4

You’ll need:

2 blood oranges (round slices)
6-8 chicken thighs (on the bone)
2 red onions (cut into quarters)
2 fennel (cut into quarters)

For the marinade:

2 dried chillis (rehydrated)
2 large fresh long chillis 
1 bird’s eye chilli 
½ brown onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 small knob of ginger
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ bunch fresh thyme
½ cup olive oil 
¼ cup red wine vinegar 
1 blood orange (zest & juice)
½ bunch coriander
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Add all marinade ingredients into a food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes.

3. Adjust with salt to taste and set aside in a wide bowl.

4. Generously coat chicken thighs in peri-peri marinade.

5. Place chicken thighs in a large baking tray dish lined with baking paper.

6. Place fennel and red onion in between the chicken thighs and bake for 35-40 minutes.

7. Baste the chicken with remaining marinade after 20 minutes and place blood orange slices over the chicken.

8. Poke the chicken thigh with a knife to check if it’s done. The liquid should come out clear.

9. Serve with your favourite sides. Stahnke recommends rice and grilled corn.

For more blood orange recipe inspiration, head to

Redbelly blood orange