Photo: José Picayo; Styling: Jocelyne Beaudoin
Yield
8 servings (serving size: about 3 1/2 ounces chicken and 3 tablespoons sauce)

A big, fat roasting hen is an excellent choice for an eight-person gathering—just as impressive as a roast turkey but downsized so you don't end up with lots of leftovers. Though the recipe doesn't include Chinese five-spice powder, it does capture the flavors of the classic blend with fennel, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and pepper.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 450°.

Step 2

Discard giblets and neck from chicken. Trim tough outer leaves from fennel; mince feathery fronds to measure 2 tablespoons. Remove and discard stalks. Cut bulb into quarters. Place 1 fennel quarter, 6 thyme sprigs, 4 garlic cloves, lemon wedges, 1/2 cinnamon stick, and whole clove in body cavity. Combine fennel fronds, oil, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks. Rub salt mixture under skin. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Tie legs together with twine. Place chicken on the rack of a roasting pan. Arrange remaining 4 garlic cloves, remaining fennel quarters, and onion in bottom of roasting pan; place rack with chicken in pan. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Reduce oven temperature to 375°.

Step 4

Add remaining 6 thyme sprigs, remaining cinnamon stick half, wine, broth, orange rind, and star anise to bottom of pan; baste chicken. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes; baste chicken. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes.

Step 5

Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 5 minutes (fat will rise). Seal bag; snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into roasting pan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Cook over medium heat, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, apricots, and butter. Serve sauce with chicken; discard skin before serving.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

Ratings & Reviews

BrianLeStarge's Review

smith3576
May 21, 2011
Very unimpressed. For the amount of work and lengthy preparation steps, the flavor of this dish doesn't compare to a five-spice blend. I do like the idea of creating a dish inspired from a traditional flavor profile using new ingredients. However, this bland, wine-flavored dish didn't cut it. One good thing was the approach to separating fat from the cooking liquids. If you don't have a fat separator, the plastic bag approach is a great idea.

Bradturn's Review

BrianLeStarge
January 23, 2011
my bird came out juicy but saw was lame. Not much five spice flavor to me. A much better recipe is Chinese soy braised chicken from The Joy of Cooking. It has the same flavor profile plus you can make it light by skinning the chicken first.

smith3576's Review

Bradturn
January 07, 2011
This was okay. Not worth all of the ingredients, though, unless you happen to have them on hand. I wouldn't make it again. The cooking time also took about 30 minutes longer than indicated in the recipe (and I used a 5 lb chicken).