30, Jul 2007
Roasted Chicken and Fennel

I’ve been grilling a lot of chicken lately, but I seem to be out of gas for the grill, so tonight I used the oven instead. I just got some new spices and so did a little experimenting. I also added some roasted fennel, onion, and garlic to the mix. I’ve been making chicken breasts, so I decided to try thighs this time, and since I was using the oven, I decided to try a dry bake to get the skin crispy. I coated the chicken with flavored corn starch, to add flavor and get a good texture. I read a somewhat similar recipe that called for brushing the chicken with olive oil, so I tried that as well.

4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
olive oil
corn starch, ground cardamom, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground black pepper
roasted vegetables
1 fennel bulb, chopped in inch pieces
1 white onion, chopped in inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled and halved/quartered (depending on size)
olive oil, red wine vinegar, chicken stock, ground black pepper, ground celery seed, kosher salt

grind the spices for the chicken in proportions to taste, and mix in a wide bowl with some corn starch. dredge each chicken thigh through the corn starch mixture until the outside is coated. set aside. put the fennel, onion, and garlic in a bowl and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, and chicken stock. add the pepper, celery seed, and salt and toss until evenly distributed. spread the vegetables and liquid in the bottom of a roasting pan (lined with foil for easy cleanup). put the roasting rack on top and put the chicken on the rack. brush both sides of the chicken lightly with olive oil. bake at 450 until the chicken is done, about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
the chicken looked beautiful, with a perfect golden-brown skin, with a bit of the texture of fried chicken. it was tender and juicy all through, but unfortunately didn’t acquire much flavor from the coating, and the skin wasn’t actually crispy. I suspect simply leaving the chicken dry instead of brushing with oil would help that (or perhaps brushing much more lightly, or with a little butter). as for flavor, marinating would probably be the right thing. also, though chicken thighs are good variety, and excellent for stir fries, I’ll probably go back to breast pieces for things like this — you get more meat on the bone for less work. the roasted vegetables were very tasty, though it was too much fennel; the usual mix of fennel, parsnips, carrots, etc would be better, with the additional variety. I find I like the smell of fennel and the seeds more than I like the bulb in too high quantities.