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Roast chicken with thyme-lemon stuffing and pickled fennel

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for roast chicken with thyme-lemon stuffing and pickled fennel.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking plus infusing, pickling, cooling
  • Serves 8
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Roast chicken with thyme-lemon stuffing and pickled fennel
You’ll need to begin this recipe three days ahead to pickle the fennel.


  • 1 chicken (2kg)
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil
  • To serve: cos lettuce leaves (optional)
Pickled fennel
  • 3 baby fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice and zested rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50 ml dry white wine
  • 20 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Thyme-lemon stuffing
  • 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 120 gm crustless day-old bread, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  • 1
    For pickled fennel, combine fennel and onion in a bowl, squeeze lemon juice over and toss to combine. Pack into a jar and set aside. Dry-roast fennel seeds until fragrant (1 minute) and coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle. Combine in a saucepan with vinegar, wine, sugar, chilli, lemon rind, 1½ tsp sea salt and 50ml water, season to taste and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for flavours to infuse (5 minutes). Pour mixture over fennel, seal jar and set aside in a cool, dry, dark place to pickle (3 days). Pickled fennel will keep refrigerated for 2 months.
  • 2
    For thyme-lemon stuffing, heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic, and stir occasionally until tender (4-5 minutes). Add citrus rinds and juices and saffron, season to taste, and cook until liquid evaporates (1-2 minutes), then remove from heat. Process bread and herbs in a food processor until coarse crumbs form (1 minute), add to onion mixture, add egg and mix with your hands to combine well. Season to taste and set aside to cool completely (30 minutes).
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 200C. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with absorbent paper. Stuff with thyme-lemon stuffing, truss legs with kitchen string and place on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Add lemons to pan, drizzle chicken and lemon with oil, season to taste and roast, basting occasionally with pan juices, until skin is crisp and golden and juices run clear when pierced with a skewer (45 minutes-1 hour). Serve chicken with pickled fennel, lettuce and roast lemon.


This recipe is from the February 2013 issue of .
Drink Suggestion: Tangy wheat beer. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Alice Storey & Emma Knowles