Here's an amazingly simple recipe with a rustic, bistro-like flare and presentation. I've used fennel for pork, but never chicken. I was wildly surprised at the flavor. I used three very small chicken leg quarters I had on hand even though the recipe from Epicurious called for one whole chicken. Cornish Hens cut in half would be wonderful, though.
It also called for Herbs de Provence which I don't keep on hand. Instead, I used a bit of Fines Herbes, dried thyme and freshly-snipped rosemary. I seasoned the chicken with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Cavender's All Purpose Greek Seasoning. That's it. I used "vine-ripened" grocery store tomatoes.
- 3 chicken leg quarters, 1.5 lbs. total
- 2 small tomatoes, cut into fourths
- 1/2 large onion, cut into thirds, root intact
- 1/4 cup black, pitted, brine-cured olives (Kalamata)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- Dry white wine
- Butter (optional)
- Several pinches dried thyme (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons freshly-snipped rosemary
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Remove any extra fat from chicken, rinse, and pat dry as possible.
In an 11 x 7 casserole dish or pan, place the tomatoes, onions, olives, sliced garlic, fennel seed, dried thyme flakes. Sprinkle on a bit of Herbs de Provence or Fines Herbs. Drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil, a few pinches of Kosher salt and several grinds of fresh pepper and mix gently to coat. Push to sides of pan.
Season chicken with seasonings of your choice, front and back, and arrange in pan, skin side up, re-arranging vegetables to the sides and then between chicken. Rub chicken with pressed garlic. Scatter rosemary on top and give another drizzle of olive oil. Splash in a bit of wine.
|Colorful. Beautifully arranged.|
Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and baste chicken with juices and, if desired, melt a bit of butter over chicken pieces. Return to oven for another 20-25 minutes until chicken is nicely browned and crisp and register 165 in thickest part. (I usually remove at around 150 F).
Remove from oven. Give a final baste of juices. Cover with foil and allow to rest 20 minutes. Serve as in the pan along with plenty of crusty bread and French butter. A side of seasoned white rice goes well.
Notes: Next time I'll tuck in the black olives a bit more since they can dry out during cooking. I could also see adding some fresh, thick-sliced mushrooms. This makes a great sauce as it cooks which would be great spooned over roasted new potatoes. Just because I had it, I used the leaves from one fresh oregano stem.