Provence Chicken

1 whole chicken

3 onions, cut length wise in half and then slice those halves width wise ½-inch wide

8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

4 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise and seeded

2 heads of fennel, cut length wise in large matchsticks ½-¾-inch wide

⅓-½ cup olive oil

2 - 3 tablespoons herbes de Provence

1 cup dry white wine

1½-2 cups chicken stock

Coarse salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Put all vegetables in large roasting pan, toss with olive oil, herbs and a little salt and pepper. Place a rack (I prefer a “V” shaped rack) on top of the vegetables.

Lightly rub the chicken with olive oil, ½ tablespoon of herbes de Provence and salt liberally. Place in rack over vegetables and put pan in oven.

Cook for 15 minutes, stir vegetables around and pour wine. After another 15 minutes pour in 1 cup of stock. Add ½ cup of stock every 15 minutes there after and stir occasionally. The idea is to keep the vegetables wet so they don’t dry up and burn. The chicken should be fully cooked in about 60 to 75 minutes.

At that point remove the chicken from the vegetables and allow to rest. You can thicken the vegetables with a little roux if you want. Serve the carved chicken with the vegetables.

Serves three to four.

About this recipe: Even though I think of baked chicken as great to have on a cold winter’s day, I love this especially in summer. The Mediterranean influence seems appropriate when the evening is warm. It represents me as it uses humble ingredients, but brings in some foreign flavors (fennel, herbes de Provence) that a lot of people might have never tried. I’ve traveled many miles in many countries — often with my thumb in my early years — and this always takes me there, and brings me back home at the same time.

Mark Clemens, Elgin