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)
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)
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.