2 medium onions
2 tsp each: sea salt and black pepper
2T fennel seeds
2T olive oil
1 chicken, about 4-5 pounds
1 lemon cut in half
several sprigs fresh herbs (oregano or thyme)
2-3 cups white wine
1 cup pitted black olives
1-2 tomatoes, diced
3T fresh basil, torn into bite size piece
1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
2. Peel and slice the onions into slices, then line the bottom of a 9x12 baking pan. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper and fennel seeds together.
4. Wash and pat dry the chicken. Place on work surface. Rub outside of bird with olive oil; use your fingers to separate the skin from the breast meat.
5. Rub the fennel mixture underneath the skin and all over the bird. Place the lemon and herb sprigs inside bird.
6. Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie the legs together.
7. Place the chicken on top of the sliced onions. Pour 1 ½-2 cups of the wine alongside the bird.
8. Cover the pan on 3 sides with aluminum foil. Place the covered chicken in a 425°F oven for 1 hour.
9. After an hour, remove the foil, add the olives (add the remaining wine if it has evaporated) and cook an additional 30 minutes more until golden brown and the internal temperature is 170° F.
10. Remove from the oven carefully tip the leg end of the chicken into the pan allowing any juices that have collected to run into the pan. Transfer to a platter and let rest for at least 15 minutes.
11. Pour the drippings into a fat separator; leave the onions, and olives in the pan. Allow the drippings to sit until the fat has risen to the top. Place the sauce in a small saucepan on the high heat and cook until the sauce has reduced slightly for about 3-4 minutes.
12. Spoon the onion and olives onto a serving platter.
13. Carve the chicken into pieces: The first cut remove the whole leg and thigh from the body. Then cut the leg from the thigh. Cut the wing from the breast. Cut along the breastbone to separate the meat from the bone. I like to cut each breast into 2 pieces. Place the pieces on top of onions, and olives.
14. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
15. Sprinkle the diced tomato and basil on top and serve warm.
TIPS & TRICKS
• Try to buy olives that have their pits in them. This keeps the olive’s flesh firm and not mushy. To remove the pit, using the side of your knife, gently press down on the olive. The olive should squish and the pit should be easy to remove. I wear a plastic glove to remove the pits as to not get my fingernails black.
• I used black cured olives, but you could use green or kalamata
• To test doneness, place the thermometer deep in the leg/thigh area. The internal temperature should be 170° F; as it sits it will “carry over cook” 5-10 degrees.
• I leave the skin on the breast meat but remove the skin from the thigh meat because it doesn’t get very crispy.
• The baking dish looks really messy and dirty, but it cleans up really quickly.
• You could substitute chicken pieces for the whole chicken. Bone-in thighs and leg should cook in about 1 hr. 20 minutes for an internal temperature of 170° F. Bone in breast meat internal temperature of 160° F, or about an hour. Check for doneness with the thermometer. Cooking meat with the bone adds so much more flavor than boneless.
• This dish doubles easily, you can use a bigger baking dish/roasting pan or two small ones. It makes great leftovers and is perfect for entraining because it is delicious served warm.