Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chicken and fennel

This very simple recipe is based on one in Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book. She recommends cooking the fennel for about seven minutes before baking it with the chicken. I followed that advice, but I am not sure that it was necessary: the fennel had plenty of time to soften and sweeten in the oven. Her recipe includes a spatchcocked chicken; I, cooking for three, used thighs and drumsticks. That was an advantage, because it enabled me to adjust the oven temperature without worrying about drying out breast meat.

Fennel -- 1 to 2 bulbs a person
Knob of butter
150 ml hot water or stock
A chicken thigh and drumstick for each person
Salt and pepper

Remove discoloured leaves as well as tops and fronds (you can use them to flavour the sauce in the pan) from the fennel. Slice the bulbs about 5 mm thick from the tops through the roots. Lay them in a roasting tray with the butter, pour over the hot water or stock, lay the chicken pieces on top, season, and bake in a gas mark 4/180 C oven for about an hour.

You want the chicken to brown and the liquid to reduce to create a couple of tbsps of flavoursome sauce for each person. You may have to turn the oven dial up or down to achieve those results. If the sauce dries up, add a little more liquid. If the chicken and fennel are cooked and there is too much sauce, strain it into a small saucepan and bubble it on the hob to reduce it, meanwhile keeping the roasting pan in a warm oven.

No comments: