Roast Chicken with Fennel and Veggies

Sundays are good days to bake. Sunday nights are not always my favorite nights to cook a big dinner. I know this seems weird. Most people use Sunday night to make a good, sit down meal. But by Sunday night, I’m just so exhausted that I can hardly convince myself to make some pasta.

This Sunday, though, I’d planned to make roast chicken. The recipe calls for barely any ingredients, has very little prep, and so I figured it’d fit the bill. Of course, last night rolled around, and Adam, who was recovering from a camping bachelor party the night before, announced he was eating leftover pizza. Oh how tempted I was to join him. But no, I made my roasted chicken damn it. And it was good. Juicy, flavorful, tender….mmmmm. In fact, I gave Adam a bite, and his reaction was, “Oooh I like how you do chicken.” He then finished his pizza and disappeared into the kitchen to make himself a plate of my dinner.

Tragically, I did not take any pictures of this recipe. Note to self: bring camera into kitchen more often. Blog readers will surely appreciate photos of raw chicken parts.

Roast Chicken with Fennel and Veggies
(adapted from Mark Bittman)

Ingredients

extra virgin olive oil
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 or 4 small red potatoes, sliced
half a zucchini, sliced
half a yellow squash, sliced
half a pint (maybe 10-15) cherry tomatoes
Salt and  pepper
about 3 pounds bone-in chicken drumsticks, thighs, or breasts
Chef Paul Prudhomme Chicken Magic seasoning (if you have it, and  I suggest you get it, aaaawesome stuff!)
Lemon wedges

Pre-heat oven to 450°. Drizzle the bottom of a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet with olive oil. Cover it with the potato, zucchini, and squash slices. Cover the vegetable layer with a layer of the fennel. Drizzle some more olive oil over the fennel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut up chicken if necessary and sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper.

Top fennel with the chicken parts, skin 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. Toss the tomatoes into the roasting pan as well. Spoon some of the oil from bottom of pan over chicken.

Roast about 15 minutes, then baste chicken with pan drippings and rotate the pan. If necessary, adjust oven temperature so chicken browns but does not burn.

Roast another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Squeeze some lemon juice over everything right before you serve it. Make sure each plate has fennel on it, as this is really the tasty flavor in the dish, in my opinion!

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