Umbrian-Style Chicken

This image courtesy of Mark T. Shapiro

Here is a thoroughly delicious method of roasting chicken with an uncomplicated, yet unusual, fennel and potato stuffing and lots of soft, nutty baked garlic as an accompaniment.

Serves4 to 6

Cooking Methodroasting


Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, savory, tangy, winey


  • ¼ cup (50 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 heads garlic, separated and peeled; 2 cloves chopped
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, diced
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 roasting chicken, (about 4½ lbs/2.25 kg)
  • 2 branches rosemary
  • 1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).

  2. In a skillet heat 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

  3. Add the chopped garlic, potatoes, fennel and ½ cup (125 mL) water; cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Remove from heat and allow stuffing to cool. Spoon stuffing into the chicken.

  4. Rub chicken with 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil and additional salt and pepper. Set chicken breast-side down in a roasting pan; roast in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Turn chicken over (breast-side up) and surround evenly with whole garlic cloves and rosemary.

  5. Drizzle 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil over garlic cloves; add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the white wine. Roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken leg is pierced with a knife and garlic cloves are soft.

  6. Remove chicken from oven and transfer to a warmed serving platter; allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Arrange garlic cloves around it. Spoon off most of the excess fat from the roasting pan and place pan over medium-high heat on top of the stove.

  7. Add wine to pan, along with 1 cup (250 mL) water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. When mixture has thickened slightly, pour into a warmed jug or gravy boat. Spoon out stuffing and cut chicken into 8 pieces. Serve with sauce.


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