So named for the man who introduced us to his wonderful fennel spice rub- Michael Chiarello. We love watching his show, and adore his fennel spice rub. Anytime I mention roasting chicken, Andy lights up and questions me "Michael's Chicken?" And after many trials, I think I've nailed perfection with it. And while I suppose this could be called a recipe, it's more or less another procedure.
You begin with this recipe for Fennel Spice Rub. Make a lot. It keeps forever in the freezer or for a few months in the pantry.
Next, you need chicken, grey salt, olive oil, one lemon, and a handful of potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (big cubes).
You can use a whole chicken or a chicken parts that have been cut up- but for sure, don't waste your time with the boneless skinless variety. Those mean flavor. You remove the bones and the skin and you've got a whole lotta flavorless chicken. This week it was a whole chicken, cut up. If you do leave it whole, you will need to adjust your cooking time- so plan accordingly.
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Spray a half-sheet pan with cooking spray, and place your chicken parts in the center, and spread the potatoes around the perimeter of the pan. Next, sprinkle everything liberally with the grey salt, and then the fennel spice rub. Make sure you flip the chicken to sprinkle both sides. Add freshly ground black pepper if you want as well. After everything has been sprinkled, take your olive oil and give it all a healthy drizzle- use your good olive oil here- and make sure you get the potatoes. Finally, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice all over the chicken and the potatoes (trust me- get the potatoes).
Pop it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, grab the pan with a hot pad and tilt the pan several times to get the chicken fat from the middle of the pan to the edges under the potatoes. Do this again after another 15 minutes. Finally after one hour in the oven, check the chicken- it should be done. If it's not- give it 10 minutes at a time until done. Let it rest on a rack for about 10 minutes before serving.
If you opt to use a whole chicken, you will want to adjust given the size of your bird. Give it about 15 minutes per pound. With a whole chicken, make sure you dust the cavity with salt and fennel spice rub, AND place one of the squeezed out lemon halves in the cavity for extra flavor points.
The chicken ends up crispy and packed with flavor. The potatoes get all brown and caramelized on the bottom- and they just can't get any better. The whole family enjoys this meal, and it just can't be beat. Company worthy, or everyday dinner, Michael's Chicken is one of our go-to default dinners.