Rachel Willen's Honey-Orange Roasted Chicken with Fennel
Have a Sweet New Year
"Apples and honey are a tradition on the Rosh Hashana table, a symbol of high hopes for a sweet new year. Chef Rachel Willen, doesn't want the rich goodness of honey to end at apples when it comes to her Rosh Hashana celebrations, and so she pairs the honey with oranges and thyme to glaze chicken, which roasts to a golden crispness atop aromatic fennel in this easy-to-make rustic, yet impressive dish."
For more great recipes from Rachel Willen, visit her site here.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of a large roasting pan with half of the oil. Add the sliced fennel. It may not all fit in one layer. It's OK to overlap. Add the sprigs of thyme. Drizzle remaining oil over fennel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat the fennel with oil and seasonings. Roast 12 minutes. Meanwhile, cut up chicken, if you are starting with a whole one. Using paper towel, blot the chicken so it's dry, especially the skin side . This will help the seasoning and basting mixture you'll be using adhere better. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper on both sides.
Warm (about 12 seconds…don't boil it!) the honey in the microwave or in a small saucepan so that it becomes thinner and easier to work with. Add the orange juice to the honey, along with the thyme leaves.
Remove the fennel from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 400. Top fennel with the chicken parts, skin side up. Spread the orange pieces throughout out the pan, in between the chicken, peel side up. Ideally, you'll have a layer of fennel pretty much covered by a layer of chicken, but it's fine if some of the fennel roasts uncovered. Spoon some of the oil from bottom of pan into they honey mixture and stir to combine. With a pastry brush, (or if you don't have one, use a spoon) dab each piece of chicken with the honey/oil/juice mixture. If you have any of the mixture left after coating all the pieces, coat them all again!
Roast for 15 minutes, then baste chicken with pan drippings and rotate the pan. Roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness you prefer. If the skin has not crisped up fully after the total cooking time, you can switch to a HI broil setting for 3 minutes or so, but do keep watch over it, as it can burn quickly.
Remove pan from oven. To serve "family style" remove all the chicken pieces to a separate dish. Place fennel on a large platter. Replace chicken, skin side up on top of the fennel. Decorate with charred orange pieces. Pour any pan juices over the chicken. Sprinkle with orange zest.
For individual plating, serve each piece with some fennel and a little of the pan juices spooned over. Garnished with orange zest and roasted orange wedge.
Recipe courtesy Rachel Willen.