Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I love lemon more every day, and I downright crave it in the springtime, so I will take a second glance at any recipe that has it in the title. Add fennel, one of my latest vegetable fascinations, and I’m downright powerless to resist. This recipe from The Kitchn has the added virtues of being ridiculously quick and easy to prepare. The chicken turned out well (chicken thighs stay so moist and flavorful, even when boneless and skinless)—and the fennel was absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know if it was the roasting, the chicken juices, the lemon, the wine, or a combination of all four, but it achieved a level of caramelization and flavor previously unknown to me. Even A, the fennel skeptic, thought it was terrific. (In fact, he loved the dish as a whole, specifically praising the chicken, which I’d found pleasant but unremarkable and basically an excuse to get to the fennel.)

Our sole complaint? Not enough of it. The chicken thighs were petite, and I would have gladly eaten three or four times the amount of fennel I ended up with. I’d already used a bit more than the recipe called for, and I’m glad I did, because it shrank down to a few mouthfuls per serving. Next time I’ll use more chicken and even more fennel, then increase the oil, wine, and lemon accordingly (the version below reflects that).

1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 large or 3 medium fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine
1 large or 2 medium lemons
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl.

2. Trim the stalks and fronds off the fennel bulbs. Cut each bulb in quarters (I like to remove the hard center core at the base and discard it), then slice each quarter into ½-inch-thick slices. Add to the bowl with the chicken. Mince about 1 tablespoon of fennel fronds and also add to the bowl.

3. Add the minced garlic, olive oil, and white wine to the bowl. Zest and juice the lemon, and add both to the bowl. Toss all the ingredients together, and add the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

4. Spread the chicken and fennel on a large baking sheet (coated with foil or parchment, if you want to minimize mess and sticking), arranging the fennel around the outside and placing the chicken pieces closely together in the center. Pour any remaining juices in the bowl over the chicken.

5. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F, and the fennel is tender and beginning to brown around the edges. Take the pan out of the oven, and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Good.

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