Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken with Fennel

Last spring I planted two rows of fennel, and as usually happens in that circumstance, all of the sudden there is plenty to go around. Fennel is easy to grow, stores well, and is versatile and original, with its soft anise undertones.

This is an easy, fast comfort food fix, that is easily timed to arrive from the oven hot for dinner. The fennel caramelizes under the fennel, which is a soft counterpoint to the moist chicken. When you stab the chicken the clear juice melds the dish.

A crusty baguette, chutney and a salad with green goddess does the trick. Dress it up with a nice bottle of soft Pinot Noir and it can easily carry a weeknight dinner party.

Roast Chicken with Fennel
adapted from the NY Times

1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 lbs chicken thighs, skin on
chopped fresh parsley

Preheat over to 450 degrees. Drizzle bottom of a shallow roasting pan or baking sheet with a tablespoon or so of oil and cover it with a layer of fennel. Drizzle another tablespoon or so over fennel and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to casserole skin side up, covering the fennel. Spoon some juices up from bottom of pan over the chicken. Roast 15 minutes then baste chicken with pan drippings and rotate the pan. If necessary, adjust heat so chicken browns without burning.

The chicken will be done in about 30 minutes. Serve each piece with some fennel and pan juices; garnish with parsley.

Serves 8


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