Roasted Chicken Legs with Fennel and Lemon

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2

Roasted chicken with crisp skin and juicy meat makes a comforting dinner and fills your kitchen with wonderful aromas. Here, lemon and white wine add pops of acidity, while fennel lends freshness and a subtle anise flavor. We use a cast-iron fry pan, which sears the chicken skin beautifully. Before adding the legs to the pan, be sure to pat them thoroughly dry so they’ll brown well. Pair this dish with our Pizza Stone Pita with Herbed Labneh.


  • 2 or 3 whole bone-in chicken legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered and cored, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) slices
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)


Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat a large cast-iron fry pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Pour in the oil and heat for about 1 minute. Add the chicken, skin side down, and sear, turning once, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the fennel bulbs and shallots to the pan and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Remove from the heat, add the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the lemon slices and thyme sprigs and then the butter, swirling until melted.

Return the chicken to the pan, nestling the pieces among the vegetables. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, away from the bone, registers 165°F (74°C), 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil the chicken and vegetables for about 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Garnish with fennel fronds and flaky sea salt. Taste the sauce and add a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 2 or 3.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen