Let the Ingredients Shine

This recipe is from Erik Soderholm of Davenport Roadhouse, an avid volunteer who has cooked at many Homeless Garden Project events and a great supporter of our work. We really appreciate all the chefs that bring their passion and talent to our farm dinners – helping us to reach a wider audience (through their stomachs!) – Darrie Ganzhorn

Roasted Organic Chicken with Warm Panzanella Salad


Roasted Chicken

  • 1/2 Mary’s Air-Chilled Organic Chicken
  • Kosher salt or medium sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons high temperature cooking oil, grapeseed or canola


  • 5 large cubes (one-inch by one-inch) focaccia
  • 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 wedges (1/4 of a whole head) orange and sherry braised fennel
  • 1 medium sized Early Girl Tomato (Cut into wedges)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped herbs (thyme, parsley and sage)

Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Orange and Sherry-Braised Fennel

  • 1 head fennel, cut into wedges
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 oz Sherry
  • 1/2 cup orange juice


Servings: 1

Roast the Chicken

If you are starting with a whole chicken, first quarter the chicken, then separate the leg and the thigh.

Pan roast either the leg or thigh with the breast, skin-side down in a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. When the skin starts to crisp, remove excess grease from the pan and place into a 500 degree oven for 5 minutes or until the liquid runs clear if you hold up the meat.

At the restaurant we often use cake testers for our meats. Penetrate the thigh running parallel to and touching the bone and hold for 8 seconds, remove and touch it gently to your upper lip. If it’s hot, you’re golden. Let the chicken rest for a minute.

Braise the Fennel

Heat canola oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the fennel and caramelize, being careful to turn frequently as not to burn.

Once caramelized, add the salt and deglaze with sherry and orange juice.

Add water if needed and cook covered in a 350 degree oven until tender.

Make the Panzanella

Make the mustard vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Warm the EVOO in a sauté pan until shimmering.

Place cubed focaccia in the pan and fry on all sides until golden brown and season with salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the focaccia, orange and sherry-braised fennel and Early Girl tomatoes.

Season accordingly with salt. Add the chopped herb mix.

Serve immediately with the roasted chicken, whole grain mustard vinaigrette and garnish with some fresh arugula that has been dressed with the vinaigrette.

This recipe is all about the very best ingredients and technique. Technique is crucial when doing simple recipes, so take it easy and have fun!

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