Mary Contini Recipe: Roast Chicken with Italian Sausage and Fennel

In our new goal to reduce the carbon footprint of our food, let’s ditch the delivery of the bucket of drumsticks and roast a free-range chicken at home. You might be surprised at the price comparison.

This serves a whole family with plenty of leftovers and even a carcass to make broth.


1 free-range chicken of 1.5 kg

1 fennel bulb

1 unwaxed lemon, zested and chopped

250g fresh Italian sausages with fennel or Spanish chorizo

extra virgin olive oil or Scottish rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed but not peeled

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 red onion, quartered with skin on.

150ml dry white wine

5-6 roasting potatoes (King Edward or Maris piper), peeled and cut into wedges


Take the chicken out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking.

Count 18 minutes of cooking for 500 g, plus about 15 additional minutes to make the skin crispy.

Preheat the oven to 220C / Gas 7

Prepare the stuffing.

Rinse and cut the fennel bulbs, removing all outer layers from the dish, keeping all stems and fronds aside.

Cut into thin slices and put in a bowl.

Add lemon zest and chopped skin and pulp.

Add the sausages cut into 2 to 3 cm pieces.

Add the chopped fennel leaves and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Season well.

Choose a large baking sheet with a rim.

Do not wash the chicken, but cut off any excess fat and the triangular end of the open end of the chicken.

Coat the chicken with oil and season well inside and out.

Add the stuffing, placing the whole garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs inside as you go.

Fold the chicken flap over the end to keep the stuffing inside.

Spread the outer pieces of fennel and the chopped onion on the baking sheet.

Place the chicken on the bed of fennel and onions and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.

Put the potatoes in a saucepan with cold water and bring to a boil.

Drain and return to pot.

With the lid on, give them a little shake to roughen the edges.

After 25 minutes, lower the gas oven to 180c/Gas 5 and continue cooking.

After an hour, remove the chicken and place the potatoes around the bird.

Pour over the white wine.

The chicken is done when the skin is crispy and the juices run clear.

There should be no pink blood under the leg.

Let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes before serving.

No fight for the sausages!

Mary Contini OBE is editor and director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you again in our CaffèBar and shop, open all day. Reserve and order online:

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