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Weekender Recommendations: Roast Chicken with Fennel

by Ben McCarthy

This simple roast chicken is perfect for a late summer evening. It requires minimal preparation and cooking time. I like to roast a bulb or two of fennel (also known as anise) along with the chicken and serve it with a salad of some sort. I find watercress or arugula both work well.

The key to this chicken is salting it liberally and rubbing generously with thyme, rosemary, and a pinch of chili.

Simple Roast Chicken

Roast ChickenIngredients:

  • 3-4lb chicken
  • Olive Oil (around 2 tablespoons)
  • Three cloves garlic, crushed
  • A pinch of chili flakes (around half a teaspoon depending on how spicy you like things)
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 6-7 sprigs of rosemary, removed from stems and minced
  • 10 sprigs of time, removed from stems and minced
  • Half a lemon
  • Half a cup (or less) of white wine, this is optional but will make a nice basting liquid when combined with pan drippings
  • Butcher’s twine for trussing the chicken


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 °F
  2. Prep your ingredients for the rub. Finely mince the rosemary and thyme and set aside, crush a couple of cloves of garlic, portion out the salt, pepper and chili flakes.
  3. Rinse the chicken and dry thoroughly, the dryer the better as this will help the bird become crispy.
  4. Rub the entire bird, including the cavity with olive oil.
  5. Generously coat with salt, sprinkling from above so the salt does not clump in any single area.
  6. Rub the rosemary and thyme, chili and black pepper  all over the bird, stuff the cavity with the lemon and garlic cloves.
  7. Truss bird with butcher’s twine and tuck the wings under the body of the bird (this will prevent them from becoming dry or burning).

Roast until the skin becomes golden brown and crispy, baste occasionally.

Roast Fennel


  • Two bulbs of fennel
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili flakes
  • Crushed garlic cloves


  1. Cut fennel into half-inch pieces, add olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes and crushed garlic cloves.
  2. Toss and add to a roasting pan or cast iron skillet.
  3. Roast for 15-30 minutes
  4. Note: Fennel will cook much faster than the chicken

Photo Credit: Deborah Jones /

Ben McCarthy is currently getting his Masters in Public Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

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