I've planted fennel in the garden for the first time this year, and boy do I wish I had planted a lot more. I just love it, roasted and caramelised, devouring every last morsel of it. Fennel can be a bit like coriander to some - you either love it or hate it. It's aniseed flavour marries perfectly with chicken, olives and my other favourite, preserved lemon.
This is a Maggie Beer recipe from her book Maggie's Harvest, and although it is in the Summer section of the book, this is such a comfort food in the winter as well. Fennel is an autumn vegetable and there is a male bulb and a female bulb. Round and bulbous, a female. Longer and thinner, a male. That's typical! I wonder what sex mine will turn out to be when I dig them up. Curvy, voluptuous females I hope!!
This dish is a weekly staple. It's quick, very little preparation is required and best of all it tastes fantastic.
Chicken pieces roasted with olives, preserved lemon and fennel
2 kg chicken thighs, skin on, trimmed of excess fat
2 preserved lemons, flesh removed, rinsed and cut into long strips
2-3 baby fennel bulbs cut into 1 cm slices
freshly ground black pepper
EEVO for cooking
24 black olives with pips (otherwise the flavour dissipates)
sea salt flakes
1-2 tblsp verjuice
freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
Marinate the chicken in a bowl with the fennel, preserved lemon, pepper and enough olive oil to coat the mixture. Leave for at least an hour for the flavours to meld.
Preheat oven to 220C. Divide the chicken and marinade between two roasting dishes, ensuring there is enough room for the chicken, so it doesn't overlap. Add the olives then season with salt.
Roast for 10-15 minutes then turn oven down to 180 C. Cook until chicken is golden, and juicy, but keeping an eye on the marinade to make sure it doesn't burn.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with verjuice and a tblsp of the best olive oil you can afford, and leave to rest, covered for 15 minutes. Just before serving, add the parsley and pan juices to moisten the chicken.
Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week is hosted by Maninas from Maninas:Food Matters.
Maninas hails from Croatia, a country that I would dearly love to visit one day. Take a look at her great site, as well as Postcards from Croatia. Just beautiful.