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Nira Rousso's Chicken with Fennel, Garlic and Currants

  1. 1/2 cup red-wine vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 10 pitted green olives, crushed
  5. 3 garlic cloves, crushed plus 2 heads of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  6. One 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 1/2 cup dry white wine
  9. 1/2 cup water
  10. 4 small fennel bulbs, quartered lengthwise and cored
  11. 1/4 cup dried currants
  12. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  13. Four 8-inch pitas, warmed
  14. Fresh sprigs of oregano, for garnish
  1. In a food processor, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, olives and the 3 crushed garlic cloves; process to a coarse paste. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Add the wine and water and turn the chicken to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, in a large flameproof roasting pan. Scatter the fennel and unpeeled garlic around the chicken. Cover with foil and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the fennel and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the oven temperature to 500° and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through.
  3. Transfer the chicken, fennel and garlic to a large heatproof bowl. Add the currants and soy sauce to the juices in the pan and cook over moderate heat until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Cover a platter with the pitas, top with the chicken, fennel and garlic and pour the currant sauce over all. Garnish with the oregano sprigs and serve.


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