The chef’s kiss is actually Italian in origin, stemming from a hand gesture that communicates “al bacio,” meaning “delicious,” or more literally, “as good as a kiss.” How appropriate for the Chef’s Kiss Roasted Chicken, then! The meat is truly melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a savory kiss of roasted, herbaceous, garlicky flavors and crispy golden-brown skin. Served alongside this incredible bird is aromatic braised fennel, infused with rich wine and fragrant leeks. Chef’s Kiss Roasted Chicken will make you do the chef’s kiss, not ironically!

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For the chicken:

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh herbs, such as, flat-leaf parsley, thyme, rosemary, or savory, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 (3-pound) chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 brick, covered well with heavy-duty aluminum foil

For the braised fennel:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 baby fennel bulbs, cored and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/8-inch-thick
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or extra dry vermouth
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • flaky sea salt, to taste
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Step 1 –Combine the kosher salt, the herbs, the lemon zest, the garlic powder, the paprika, the pepper, and the coriander in a bowl.

Step 2 –Rub the spice mixture over the chicken, working it into all areas of the chicken.

Step 3 –Cover and refrigerate the chicken for at least 6 hours.

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Step 4 –Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 5 –Drizzle the chicken with the olive oil and ensure it is well-coated.

Step 6 –Heat a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat until it begins to smoke, 10-12 minutes.

Step 7 –Add the chicken to the hot skillet, skin-side down.

Step 8 –Reduce the heat to low and place the prepared brick lengthwise down the center of the chicken.

Step 9 –Cook until the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.

Step 10 –Remove the brick and, with tongs, carefully flip the chicken skin-side up.

Step 11 –Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer, inserted between the breast and thigh, reaches 165 degrees F, about 15-25 minutes.

Step 12 –Transfer the chicken to a large platter or cutting board and let rest 15 minutes before carving; reserve the skillet.

Step 13 –Melt the butter in the reserved skillet over medium heat.

Step 14 –Add the fennel, the carrots, and the leeks into the skillet.

Step 15 –Season the vegetables with the kosher salt and the pepper and stir occasionally, until they are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 16 –Add the wine or the vermouth and cook, stirring until almost completely evaporated, about 2-4 minutes.

Step 17 –Transfer the skillet from the heat and stir in the tarragon.

Step 18 –Sprinkle with the flaky salt.

Step 19 –Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.