Garlic and Fennel Barbecue Roasted Chicken, Herbed Goat’s Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and Steamed Green Beans

by Kelly on September 9, 2009

Necessity really is the mother of invention. Today I decided to make a special roast chicken dinner for the family since my errand load was light and Sam, my two-year-old, was in day care for most of the day. I spent a good half hour prepping and stuffing the chicken. When I went to put the chicken into my preheated oven, the oven gave me a big, cold surprise — a broken ignitor and no way to bake my chicken. After scurrying around for the oven’s owner manual and briefly contemplating broiling a whole chicken (the broiler unit still worked), I quickly lit a heap of coals in our Weber, threw on the chicken a few minutes later, and hoped for the best. Fortunately, my last-minute experiment was a complete success. The chicken took on a smoky flavor that wonderfully complimented the fennel stuffed inside it. Thank goodness for cooking disasters. Modern eating might become too boring without them.

Fennel Garlic Chicken

Garlic and Fennel Barbecue Roasted Chicken

adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2003

Serves 4 to 6

1 large or two small fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut into 6 to 8 wedges
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
whole chicken (about 3 1/2 lb/1.5 kg)
1 lemon, halved

Cook the fennel in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender when pierced with a knife, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons oil, the garlic, 1 tablespoon each thyme and rosemary, then the salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill for indirect cooking. Rinse chickens inside and out and pat dry. Rub the chickens inside and out with lemon, squeezing some of the juice into the cavities. Rub the outside of the chickens with 3 tablespoons oil, then the remaining herbs. Sprinkle the chickens generously with salt and pepper. Loosely stuff the chickens with the fresh fennel mixture. Tie the legs together and place the chicken, breast side down, in a roasting rack.

Roast the chicken on the grill using indirect heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, flipping the bird every 30 minutes. When ready, the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork in the thickest part of the thigh and the leg should move easily away from thigh. Transfer the chicken to a platter and garnish with fennel fronds.


Herbed Goat’s Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

4 potatoes, any variety, peeled and cut into 1‑inch cubes (I used large russet potatoes)
2 oz (60 g) goat cheese with herbs, crumbled
1/4 cup (60 ml) half and half
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes in a large pot of water set over a high heat. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and roughly mash them with a potato masher. Mash in the goat’s cheese, half and half, 1/4 cup of milk and the butter until well combined. Mix in additional milk until the potatoes reach the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I added about 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper).

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