I'm usually pretty good to sticking with one season when preparing a dish. I like to make sure the ingredients I use will all be at their best when I'm making up a recipe but lucky for us, most ingredients are available at pretty good quality year round which is what allowed me the peace of mind to create this recipe using at least one ingredient from each season.
Despite the fact that fennel is at its best during the spring time and oranges are at their peak during the winter months they are a more than perfect pairing, if not a tad cliche. What I love most about this recipe is the roasting that goes on here caramelizes both the orange slices and fennel bringing out the sweetness in both of them. That combined with crispy chicken skin and subtle crunch of mustard seed have put this recipe at the top of my dinner list.
Its pretty simple to put together, prep probably doesn't take more than 10 minutes even on a slow day. But it's one of those situations where the total is greater than the sum of its parts because as a complete dish, this is both visually stunning and totally eatable. It's also a pretty healthful dish which means no guilt serving it up. The funny thing here is that I usually have to convince people to try fennel out because most people aren't into it. For me, the orange is offending character. Something to do with never getting all that white pith away or maybe some childhood trauma involving oranges but it's just not my thing. No matter which party you belong to, this recipe is a great way to introduce yourself to a new side of these (my synonym finder says fruitage but I'm legit convinced that's not a real word).
Roasting them kind of mellows the anise flavor and basically turns the orange into candy which can be eaten peel and all of your into that.
Besides that this dish is absolutely delicious and easily becoming one of my favorite recipes, its absolutely stunning. The reds, the greens, and the golden make it an impressive dish to serve even at the most sophisticated meal. Plus, no one will even know you weren't slaving all day to make this! WIN! Oh! Best Part! You can totally prepare it all the night before (up to 24 hours in advance and just stick it in the oven when you are ready. Those little perks are always my favorite!
Thank you Seasons for Sponsoring this recipe.
- 3 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 orange, sliced into 8ths
- 2 bulbs fennel, sliced lengthwise, core removed
- 3-4 scallions, roots removed
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 inch ginger, sliced thinly
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 1 whole Chicken cut into 1/8ths
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Honey
- Fresh Basil to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425F
- In a large baking dish, add the shallots, orange, fennel, ginger, garlic thyme and scallions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Pat the chicken completely dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cardamom. Place the chicken above the fennel skin side up. Drizzle the entire dish with olive oil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Then remove the chicken from the oven, brush or drizzle the entire dish with the honey paying special attention to the chicken skin.
- Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes or until the chicken is a caramel brown and the orange and fennel have become nicely browned and a little candied.
- Top with basil, salt and pepper and serve.
To make ahead simply prepare the chicken and vegetables and store covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours or until ready to bake.