Pan Roasted Chicken with Shallots, Carrots, Fennel and Olives

From Geoff Last

2013 Jan/Feb


  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and cut into 8 sections
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 T. chopped fresh thyme (feel free to add a little fresh rosemary and sage as well)
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 large chicken (preferably free range), cut up; breast split lengthwise and then cut in half to yield four equal pieces; also separate the thighs from the legs
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. kalamata olives
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the vegetables – except the olives – into a medium bowl and toss with 1 T. olive oil and chopped herbs. Season them with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat 4 T. oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until very hot (but not smoking), then add the chicken pieces, skin-side down. Depending on the heat of your stove, you may have to turn the heat down slightly to avoid burning them. However, if the pan is not hot enough, the chicken will stick and be hard to turn. Frying chicken in this manner does create some grease splatter (and smoke); you can use a mesh splatter-guard if this is a concern. Let the chicken pieces brown nicely for about 4 to 5 minutes then flip them over. Cook for another minute, then remove the pan from the heat.

Remove the chicken pieces and add the vegetables, spreading them out evenly in the pan. Place the chicken pieces on top of the bed of vegetables and transfer the skillet to a hot oven and pan-roast for 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Turn the vegetables in the pan to encourage browning then add the olives and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes while the chicken is resting. Plate the chicken and vegetables on a large serving platter (if I have some flat-leaf parsley on hand I will garnish the dish with a chopped tablespoon or two). Serve with a simple green salad and the magical potatoes. Serves 4.

Wine recommendation: A medium-bodied red, such as a Chianti Classico, Lirac, Pinot Noir or Rioja.