This simple bake combines some of the best flavours of the Mediterranean and can be dressed up or down as you choose. You can use ready-prepared chicken pieces, however the overall flavour of the dish will benefit if you joint a whole chicken yourself.
2 tsp fennel seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and coarsely chopped
90g (¼ cup) honey
60ml (¼ cup) white wine
60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
1.5kg whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 beurre bosc pears (about 550g), cut into quarters lengthways and cored
2 medium fennel bulbs (about 600g), trimmed and quartered lengthways
150g thinly sliced pancetta
90g (¼ cup) green olives
boiled or mashed potatoes, to serve
1. Lightly crush the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Put in a large bowl with the garlic, rosemary, honey, wine, oil and pepper and whisk until well combined. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally if possible.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and set aside. Spread the pears and fennel over the base of a large roasting pan and drizzle with 125ml (½ cup) of the reserved marinade, tossing to coat. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven.
3. Add the chicken pieces to the pan, skin side up. Lay the pancetta slices over the chicken, taking care as the pan will be hot. You may need to tear the slices to patch any gaps so that the chicken pieces are covered. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the chicken, then season well with sea salt.
4. Roast for 45 minutes. Scatter the olives over the top and roast for a further 5 minutes or until the pears and fennel are tender, the chicken is cooked through and the olives are warm.
5. Divide the chicken, pears and fennel among warmed plates and spoon the pan juices over. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes.