Fennel & Orange Roast Chicken

Recipe by Vicki Ravlich-Horan, Images by Ashlee DeCaires

Orange and fennel is one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations. For this recipe the citrus of the orange is perfect with chicken, while the fennel mellows out and becomes a wonderful accompaniment with the chicken.

1 large free-range chicken
2 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
4–5 oranges
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh rosemary or thyme, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
2 fennel bulbs
2 small red onions or 6 shallots
¼ cup orange juice
1 cinnamon quill

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

To easily spatchcock the chicken, place it on a chopping board, breast-side down. Using a pair of strong kitchen scissors, cut down the centre of the backbone so the skin remains firmly attached to the bone on either side. Turn the chicken breast-side up, open it up and then, using the heel of your hand, press firmly along the breastbone so that you break it and the wishbone to make the chicken lie flat.

Lightly toast the fennel seeds. Crush these along with the salt in a mortar and pestle then add the maple syrup or honey along with the zest and juice of 2 oranges, the Dijon mustard, rosemary or thyme and 3 tbsp of the oil. Mix well then massage all over the chicken.

Remove the core of the fennel and chop into 3–4 cm chunks. Lay these on the bottom of the roasting pan along with the quartered red onions or halved shallots. Slice the remaining oranges, peel and all, into ½ cm slices. Lay these over the fennel and onion, add the orange juice and cinnamon quill, before placing the chicken on top.

Bake for 10 minutes, turn down the heat and continue to cook for 30–40 minutes or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced. Allow your chook to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Got leftovers?  Make them into my Chicken Salad with Chilli Orange Dressing

I always think the way to make a successful salad as a main meal is by adding some different textures, think of the croutons in a Ceasar salad. In this case I have deep fried a few wonton wrappers and then broken them up to add some crunch to the slaw. Crispy noodles work well too.

A slaw is perfect in the winter months when the likes of lettuce and tomatoes are pricey. Plus, you can switch and swap up the vegetables depending on what you have. The likes of broccoli stalk and fennel finely sliced make great additions.

1–2 cups of shredded roast chicken
¼ green cabbage, finely shredded
⅛ red cabbage, finely shredded
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, julienned
1–2 handfuls of mung beans or sprouts
handful of fresh coriander leaves
6–8 wonton wrappers, deep fried, or a handful of crispy noodles

In a large bowl add all the salad ingredients, except the wonton wrappers (or crispy noodles).
Pour over the dressing and toss, then add in the wontons wrappers and serve immediately.

¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients in a jar. Place the lid on and shake well.


Share This Post