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MIDWEEK BLUES – ROASTED CHICKEN LEGS WITH ORANGE & FENNEL

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH FENNEL

When you inject good mojo and pride into anything, even chicken legs can be transformed into something so infectious, your taste buds will sing.  This one-pan chicken dish will easily become one of your favorites of all time.  It’s simple preparation and stellar results makes for an effortless summer recipe.

The fennel will caramelize around the edges and its subtle anise undertone will pair beautifully with the citrusy flavors, making it a heavenly combination with chicken.  Accompany this with a bright green salad and Mediterranean couscous, as the pan juices need to be celebrated.  For those that have a developed a dislike to fennel because they find it too scented, this will make you a convert.  Let me know what you think!

8 whole chicken legs – thighs and drumsticks – skins removed

4 bulbs of fennel cut into quarters – fronds reserved

1 lemon – zest and juice

1  orange – cut into slices

4 large garlic cloves – peeled

4 TBSP dry white wine – pino or a Chablis

4 TBSP EVOO

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

2 TBSP soy sauce

1 TSP Aleppo pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes

1 TSP dried oregano

1 TBSP of grainy Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425F

On a cutting board smash the garlic with the flat of your knife adding a bit of salt to make it a paste. Chop the fennel fronds finely and add them to a mixing bowl with the lemon juice, zest, EVOO, oregano, mustard, wine, soy sauce, balsamic, Aleppo pepper and whisk everything together.  Add some kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper as well and mix well together.  Add the chicken pieces and coat well with all the marinade, allowing them to sit for about 45 minutes to an hour out of the fridge, turning the pieces a few times.

Place the chicken in a deep roasting pan and insert fennel quarters in between as well as the orange segments.  Don’t overcrowd them too much.  Pour the remaining marinade over everything.

Roast for about 40-45 minutes, uncovered until the interior chicken temperature reaches 160F and the fennel is tender and caramelized.  Remove from the oven and cover with foil to keep warm for about 12 minutes before serving.

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