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Free-range chickens are generally smaller and more tender, and they cook faster. We tested with a 4-pound whole roasting chicken, which is more readily available.

Recipe by MyRecipes September 2004


Credit: Charles E. Walton IV

Recipe Summary

1 hr
1 hr 20 mins
20 mins
Makes 4 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°.

  • Rinse chicken inside and out, removing all inside parts; cut off any excess fat, and pat dry.

  • Combine chopped oregano, marjoram, minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Place chicken in a large roasting pan on a roasting rack, breast side up. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between the skin and meat. Place oregano mixture beneath skin on breasts and drumsticks.

  • Pour wine over chicken and into the pan. Rub the inside cavity of chicken with lemon, squeezing juice over and around outside of chicken. Place lemon halves, 2 fennel pieces, smashed garlic cloves, and sprig of oregano in cavity of chicken. Add 1 cup water to pan. Add remaining fennel and fronds to bottom of pan. Pour remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over breast, and add salt and pepper.

  • Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Roast at 400° for 1 hour or until thermometer registers 175°, basting every 20 minutes with pan liquid.

  • Remove chicken from oven, and let rest 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings from pan into bag; let stand 10 minutes. (Fat will rise to top.) Seal bag, and carefully snip off a bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Reserve drippings for Herb Pan Gravy. Serve chicken, fennel, and lemons with Herb Pan Gravy.