Weaver Street (i.e. the best grocery store in the Triangle) has some great ideas at times. Whole chickens were on sale, and they had fresh fennel. So Megan ferried these lovelies home and we set to making the house smell scrumptious:
Roast Chicken with Fennel (and Lentils)
1 whole chicken (ours was about 4lbs, but larger or smaller is fine)
1 large bulb fennel (all but feathery leaves)
1 medium onion
canola oil/butter, salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
3 handfuls lentils
1/4 c. white wine
2 c. water
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Rinse the chicken and remove the giblets/neck if present. (Reserve for giblet gravy if desired.) Chop fennel and onion. Grease the bottom and sides of a roasting pan or large cast iron skillet and layer in the veggies. Settle the chicken on top, breast side down. Rub chicken with more oil or butter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cover with foil, leaving a drip edge inside the edge of the pan. Bake until thigh temperature reaches 160 (90 min plus). Remove the foil and switch the oven to broil. Broil, watching carefully, for 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Remove the chicken to another dish or board to cool/carve.
Meanwhile, transfer the veggies and drippings to a stove-safe pan (that was the idea with using a skillet). Bring to a boil and add chopped garlic, lentils, white wine and water. Cover (the foil from the chicken works well here) and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
Alternatively, cook brown rice or barley in the juices instead of lentils. Or even whole wheat pasta. (You can cook pasta in any liquid, not just a pot of boiling water!)