lemon-roast chicken on a bed of fennel
pan-fried spring vegetables
roasted new potatoes
The weather may still be determinedly wintry, but spring is on its way. Or so I tell myself as it once again starts snowing outside, in March… got to love England. I think the best way to banish the winter is to start spring-cleaning our meals, out with the casseroles and in with the lighter fare.
Sunday isn’t a Sunday without a roast though, but it doesn’t have to be stodgy or rich. I used lemon and the tang of roasted fennel to make a zesty, fresh roast chicken. The new potatoes are still satisfyingly crispy, but much lighter and healthier than normal roasties. Lots of green fresh vegetables, and a light lemony gravy finish it off.
Serves 4-5 Oven at 180 degrees
1 medium size chicken
1 fennel bulb
1 stick of celery
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
sprigs of thyme
a glass of white wine
s & p
- For the lemony roast chicken: Chop the green roots off the top of the fennel, leaving the white bulb remaining.
- Finely slice the fennel, along with the celery.
- Crush the garlic by placing the cloves under your flat knife blade, and giving it a sharp bash with your fist.
- Half the lemon. Slice off three rounds from one half.
- Place the fennel, celery and 3 garlic cloves into a roasting pan. Drizzle over some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and pour in a glass of water.
- Place the chicken on top of the fennel. Rub the skin with the lemon half, and squeeze over the juice. Place this lemon half into the cavity with the rest of the garlic.
- Season the chicken well with salt and pepper, layer the lemon slices over the top and dot the skin with blobs of butter. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.
- Place in the oven for 1 hr and ½, or until the juices run clear when the flesh is pierced with a knife.
- For the roast potatoes: Meanwhile, boil the new potatoes until a knife goes easily through.
- Drain and steam-dry. Half each potato.
- Add to a roasting tin and drizzle liberally with olive oil. Season with salt.
- Half way through the chicken cooking time, put the potatoes in the oven.
- Check the chicken, if cooked, allow to rest. It should be rested for half the amount of cooking time.
- Spring vegetables: Whilst the chicken is resting, slice the courgettes and leeks and pan-fry gently in a large saucepan until soft.
- To make the gravy: add a large glass of white wine into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer vigorously until it has reduced by half.
- Pour all the juices from the roasting tin and rested chicken into the saucepan, using a sieve to catch the roasted fennel and celery.
- Simmer the gravy and reduce slightly to thicken. Season to taste.
Serve the chicken on the bed of roasted fennel, with the crisp new potatoes, fresh spring vegetables and lemon gravy drizzled over.