Roasted Chicken with Fennel and Lemon

Roasted Chicken with Fennel and Lemon

     1 (4-pound) whole roasting chicken

     1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano plus 1 sprig fresh oregano

     2 sprigs fresh marjoram

     2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 2 garlic cloves, smashed

     1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

     1 cup dry white wine

     1 lemon, cut in half

     1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges, plus some of the fronds

     1/2 teaspoon sea salt

     1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

     Herb Pan Gravy (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse chicken inside and out, removing all inside parts; cut off any excess fat, and pat dry.

Combine chopped oregano, marjoram, minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Place chicken in a large roasting pan on a roasting rack, breast side up. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between the skin and meat. Place oregano mixture beneath skin on breast and drumsticks.

Pour wine over chicken and into the pan. Rub the inside cavity of chicken with lemon, squeezing juice over and around outside of chicken. Place lemon halves, 2 fennel pieces, smashed garlic cloves, and sprig of oregano in cavity of chicken. Add 1 cup water to pan. Add remaining fennel and fronds to bottom of pan. Pour remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over breast, and add salt and pepper.

Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Roast at 400 degrees F for 1 hour or until thermometer registers 175 degrees F, basting every 20 minutes with pan liquid.

Remove chicken from oven and let rest 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour dripping from pan into bag; let stand 10 minutes. (Fat will rise to top.) Seal bag, and carefully snip off a bottom corner or bag. Drain dripping into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Reserve drippings for Herb Pan Gravy. Serve chicken, fennel, and lemons with Herb Pan Gravy.

Makes: 4 servings

Herb Pan Gravy

     2 tablespoons butter

     2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

     1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves, chopped

     1/4 cup dry white wine

     1 cup chicken broth

     1/8 teaspoon sea salt

     1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it melts; add flour, and cook stirring about 2 minutes or until flour turns light brown. Add marjoram, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Add wine and chicken broth, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add reserved drippings from above chicken recipe to the flour mixture, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Stir in salt and pepper. Spoon over the chicken, and serve immediately. If the sauce gets too thick, add a little more or the pan juices of chicken broth.

Makes: about 1 cup