Roast Chicken with Seared Fennel and Mustard and Basil Mash

Add a Mediterranean flavour to your Sunday meal with Ed Baines's roast chicken with tender fennel and hot basil mash
By Ed Baines
Roast Chicken with Seared Fennel and Mustard and Basil Mash
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium



  • 1 chicken, corn-fed
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • handful of lemon or carrot slices or baby tomatoes, (optional)
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 150 ml white wine
  • juice of1/2 lemons

For the herb stuffing:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peel left on
  • bunch of fresh sage or good pinch of dried sage
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper

For the mustard and basil mash:

  • 5 large potatoes
  • about 3 tbsp olive oil
  • about 1 tbsp grain mustard
  • ½ bunch of leaves basil
  • about 200ml milk
  • salt and black pepper

For the seared fennel:

  • 3 large bulbs fennel, trimmed (trimmings reserved)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 175 ml white wine
  • 400 ml water
  • knob of butter
  • salt and black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6

2. To make the herb stuffing, boil the garlic cloves in a small pan of water for 2 minutes, then drain. Roughly chop the fresh sage, reserving any trimmings, and place in a bowl. Peel the boiled garlic and add to the bowl with the olive oil. Season to taste. Use a fork to mash the stuffing together.

3. Place the chicken on a chopping board, pull back the neck skin and run your hand gently between the skin and flesh to create a pocket. Push the herb stuffing under the skin. Secure the skin back down with a cocktail stick.

4. Brush the skin of the chicken with olive oil. If you like, place between the meat of the leg and breast anything from slices of lemon or carrot to baby tomatoes, to add to the flavours of the chicken juices. Lightly dust the bird with celery salt and stuff any trimmings such as herb stalks and fennel tops into the central cavity of the chicken. Do not overstuff, otherwise the heat will not be able to penetrate the bird well enough to cook it through.

5. Place the chicken in a large roasting tray and roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven setting to 180°C/gas 4 and cook for a further 50 minutes.

6. About 40 minutes before the chicken finishes cooking, start making the mustard and basil mash. Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of simmering water for 10-15 minutes, until tender.

7. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the seared fennel. Cut the fennel bulbs into wedges. Grind the fennel seeds into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar. Place the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat and add the fennel wedges. Allow the fennel to seal in the pan, ensuring that it is catching slightly against the base of the pan before turning and cook on all sides for about 4-5 minutes, until darkened.

8. Add the ground fennel seeds, stir well and reduce the heat to medium. Add the wine, stirring all the fennel juices and releasing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the water and leave this to simmer away.

9. Meanwhile, drain the cooked potatoes and wipe out the saucepan, then return the potatoes to the pan. Add the olive oil and mustard, to taste, place the saucepan over a low heat and begin to mash. Add the basil and the milk, season to taste and continue mashing until combined. Leave the pan on the heat and stir occasionally until the mash takes on a light, fluffy, specked appearance. The starch content of potatoes varies throughout the year, so you might need to add more milk and olive oil.

10. Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked through by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the meat - the juices should run clear. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes in the roasting tray. Turn the oven setting down to 110°C/gas ¼. Gently transfer the chicken to a clean chopping board, retaining any excess juices in the roasting tray. Add the white wine to the roasting tray and set aside for a moment.

11. Spoon the mustard and basil mash into a warmed ovenproof serving dish. Increase the heat under the fennel to high, add a knob of butter, stir well and pour into another ovenproof serving dish. Season the mash and fennel with salt and pepper, to taste, and put them in the oven to keep warm.

12. Place the roasting tray across two of the hob burners over a medium heat and cook off the wine, stirring the juices together in the tray. Add a touch of water and continue cooking and stirring until the liquid is reduced by half.

13. While the gravy is reducing, cut the chicken into pieces, place on a large serving dish and squeeze over the lemon juice. Pour the gravy over the top. Remove the mash and vegetables from the oven and serve with the chicken.

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