Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 45 mins
This is, hands-down, the best roast chicken I've ever had. I'm even willing to go toe-to-toe with my mom on this one. Not only is it moist and flavorful, but the fennel really adds a mellow dimension to the dish that is so different and just tasty. Even my boyfriend who hates fennel can polish this off. From Bon Appetit, October 2003.
- 3 large fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in resealable plastic bag
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 (3 lb) roasting chickens
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1 cup vernaccia di san gimignano wine or 1 cup other dry white wine
- 1⁄3 cup low sodium chicken broth
- Cook fennel in large pot of boiling salted water until tender when pierced with knife, about 8 minutes. Drain.
- Transfer to bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons oil; garlic; 1 tablespoon each fennel seeds, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and marjoram; then 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Preheat oven to 450°F Mix remaining 1 tablespoon each fennel seeds and herbs in small bowl.
- Rinse chickens inside and out; pat dry.
- Rub chickens inside and out with lemon halves, squeezing some of juice into cavities. Rub outside of chickens with 1/4 cup oil, then fennel seed mixture. Sprinkle chickens generously with salt and pepper.
- Stuff chickens with leftover lemon halves. Tie legs together. Place chickens, breast side down, in large roasting pan. Arrange fresh fennel mixture around chickens.
- Roast chickens 30 minutes, basting occasionally with pan juices. Combine wine and broth and pour over chickens. Roast 15 minutes. Turn chickens breast side up.
- Roast chickens until juices run clear when pierced with fork in thickest part of thigh, about 40 minutes longer. Transfer chickens and fennel mixture to platter. Pour pan juices into bowl; skim off fat. Pour juices over chickens and serve.
This is a smart way to roast a chicken so that the breast doesn't get overcooked and dry out before the legs are done. I roasted a 4 lb chicken and kept all the ingredient amounts the same and it came out great! The only thing I changed was that I used one fennel bulb and added potatoes, sweet potatoes, yuca, and onions to the pan to roast with the chicken.
I used this recipe for one 6lb chicken and had great results with the cooking method and timing. The chicken was moist and tender but had surprisingly little flavor from the herbs and fennel. I think the end result depends greatly on the strained pan juices poured over the meat just before serving. All I had left after cooking was grease. There were no juices to strain and I'm not sure why that happened. I'd love to give this one another try, maybe use more liquid and get a better result. It certainly has great promise; the fragrance was heavenly.