Several years ago while travelling in Rome with some friends I had a really delicious meal of roast chicken. It took me awhile before I could find a combination that was close to the original. This has become a favorite of mine. I also like it on the grill.
Ingredients: (serves 4 - 6)
1 whole chicken or chicken parts with skin and bones (if grilling the thighs and legs are best)
1 T dried Oregano
1 T Garlic, minced
1 T Fennel Seeds, crushed (If you cannot have sees then try 1t dried ground fennel or slice a fennel bulb and add it to the pan)
1 t coarse Salt
1 t Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3 T Olive Oil
1 c Madeira, Dry Marsala, Cream Sherry
Using a mortar and pestle, crush the fennel seeds. If that is not available then use a heavy bottom pot with a cutting board and turn the pot so the seeds crush. Mix the other spices and the minced garlic with the fennel seeds and add the olive oil to make a loose paste. Loosen the skin of the chicken and put some of the paste between the skin and meat. Make an incision in each of the legs and tuck some of the paste in there. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. The longer the spices sit before cooking will give the chicken more flavor.
When ready to cook. Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temp for 1 hour. Put the chicken in dutch oven, breast side up, and bake for 20 minutes. Add the wine to the pot and turn the chicken so it is breast side down, cover the pot and continue to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and then turn the chicken breast side up for an additional 20 minutes. Check the temp using a meat thermometer. The temperature should read 170 between the thigh and breast. Remove and tent with foil. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.