I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count! It is absolutely delicious, easy as pie, and the perfect dish when you’re looking for a good midweek meal or you need to feed a crowd. The ingredients can easily be swapped around too – feel free to try carrots and potatoes instead of fennel and onions, or any other combination of your favourite vegetables. I always use the chicken thighs though as they manage to stay moist and juicy during the long roasting time while chicken breasts run the risk of drying out. I serve this with a wild rice or quinoa side, but any grain/starch you like will do.
- 16 chicken thighs
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 4 inches fresh rosemary sprig
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
The night before cooking, place garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until a paste is made. Place chicken and paste in a ziploc bag and massage until the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate overnight.
Making the dish
- 4 bulbs fennel, cored and cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
- 3 large red onions, cut into 1 1/2 inch wedges
- 8 oz pancetta, cut roughly
- 8 cloves garlic, split
- 2 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 3/4 cups coarsley chopped fennel leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a low-sided roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken and vegetables in a single layer, spread the ingredients out with chicken skin side up. Dab the chicken with any seasoning rub that may be left in the ziploc. Scatter the vegetables, pancetta, fennel seed, half the fennel leaves, and garlic amongst the chicken. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes basting with juices half way through.
Pour in wine and roast another hour, basting and turning chicken and veg periodically. Add a little bit of water if the juices look as if they are beginning to burn.
Raise the heat to 450 degrees and roast for 15 minutes with the chicken skin side down. Turn over to skin side up and roast for final 15 minutes or until the chicken is a deep golden brown.
Garnish dish with freshly cut fennel leaves and serve.