Chicken Thighs w/ Fennel, Oranges & Olives

If you can spare lighting your oven in the summer for an hour, make this dish.

If you have no a.c., then pin this recipe for a cool night.

There are many versions of this recipe out there.

Ottolenghi has one that uses arak, a Middle Eastern alcoholic drink......Nigella has a similar recipe, using mustard and bitter oranges w/ fennel seeds......and my favorite British cook, Diana Henry, makes this with honey, mustard, fennel and oranges in her book A Change of Appetite.
Must be a UK thing, because all these chefs here are English.

I did my own thing.....using kosher chicken thighs, because not only do they taste so much better than regular supermarket chicken (less greasy), but they are twice the size! I didn't use vermouth or any booze, or any honey or mustard or sugar.......instead, I added Lucques olives, but any good green olive with pits will do.

This was wonderful and please don't ask if you can use boneless, skinless thighs.....because no, you can't.

I have spoken.

Chicken Thighs w/ Fennel, Oranges and Olives:

6 chicken thighs with skin and bones (I like Empire kosher, really makes a difference)
2 oranges
handful of good briny green olives (Lucques are delicious, small, but meaty)
1 head of fennel (a.k.a. anise), sliced (save the fronds for garnish)
olive oil
kosher salt & pepper
hot pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425F.

Using a large 12" cast iron skillet, lay the chicken thighs in the pan and squeeze the juice of one of the oranges all over the skin.
Season the thighs w/ kosher salt and pepper. A dash of hot pepper flakes is great in this recipe, don't skip it.

Cut the remaining orange into pieces (keeping the skin on) and scatter around the chicken pieces, along w/ the fennel slices and olives.

Drizzle w/ a tiny amount of olive oil (the chicken will make enough juice).

Place in the hot oven for 50-60 minutes, depending on the size of your thighs.

In the same hot oven, I roasted sweet potato cubes along side and served the chicken with the roasted fennel on top of the sweet potatoes.

This was so good, it seems like a winter dish doesn't it?
I don't care, chicken is always in season around here.



Amen Kahwajy said…
Somehow I have not been using enough city's lately, this is a good reminder. We like arak/ouzo, or even Greek tannic wine, with fennel as it really brings out the fennel flavor. That said, I bet leaving it out suits many more people. Or just use very little if no fennel is on hand. Thanks for the post!
Amen Kahwajy said…
Should read "citrus", not city.
Amen Kahwajy said…
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Amen Kahwajy said…
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