Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chicken with Fennel

During our weekly trip to the grocery store, I picked up a couple of bulbs of fennel because it looked nice. Come Sunday, I had no idea what to do with it, but I thought maybe I'd use it with chicken. There were some Chinese sausages in the freezer; that also sounded good with chicken, but then I couldn't reconcile the sausage with the fennel. It might have worked, who knows? But then Mr Minx mentioned "preserved lemon" which inspired me to make something Moroccan-ish.

Not pretty, but pretty tasty. I've never before eaten fennel that has been cooked for such a long time - it was succulent, slightly sweet, absolutely wonderful. The chicken was tender and the spice mixture added a nice sharp bite, as did the tang of the lemon.

I would imagine that this would work with regular lemon as well, just make sure to slice it very thinly and put it in the oven with the fennel and onion at the start of cooking time, so it will get tender.

Chicken with Fennel and Preserved Lemon

olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, sliced crosswise
1 small onion, halved and sliced
handful of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 preserved lemon, halved, seeds removed, and sliced
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 T Ras el Hanout (recipe follows)
salt and pepper to taste
sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F. Drizzle the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan with olive oil. Add fennel and onion to pan, top with mushrooms and drizzle with more oil. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove pan from the oven and stir the vegetables. Top fennel with chicken pieces. Sprinkle half of the Ras el Hanout on one side of chicken, turn chicken and sprinkle the other side with the remainder of the spice mixture. Scatter preserved lemon on top. Turn oven temperature down to 350F and place the pan back in oven for approximately 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are quite tender and limp. There should be quite a bit of juice in the pan - make sure to spoon this over your starch of choice.

Serve with rice or cous cous. Serves 2-6.

Ras el Hanout

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
I teaspoon turmeic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Mix all spices together well and store in a covered container.


Kristine said...

This looks great. I'd be curious to see your preserved lemon recipe. I got mine from Stephanie Izard's site. What are some other things you use them with?

theminx said...

No recipe - I found jarred preserved lemons at Marshall's at Christmas time, when I usually stock up on cheap gourmet condiments.