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Chicken with fennel, black olives & thyme
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by Diana Henry
2 bulbs fennel
2 red onions, cut into wedges about 1.5cm thick at the thickest part
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10 sprigs thyme
¾ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 tsp fennel seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle
3 cloves garlic, grated to a purée
8 chicken thighs, or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks
150ml dry white vermouth
30 black olives
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Trim the tips of the fennel and remove and reserve any feathery fronds. Quarter the fennel bulbs, then carefully cut out some of the core – the bit that holds it all together – but not so much that the core is completely removed. Slice the quarters of both fennel bulbs lengthways, so you end up with about 10-12 slim wedges from each bulb.
2. Put the fennel into a roasting tin big enough to hold the chicken pieces in a single, spacious layer. Add the onions, olive oil, thyme, chilli (if using), fennel seeds, garlic and seasoning.
3. Trim the chicken pieces of excess skin and fat. Add them to the roasting tin and turn everything over so both the vegetables and chicken get coated in oil. You want to end up with the chicken on top, skin-side up. Sprinkle sea salt flakes on the skin of the chicken joints.
4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then take the tin out, pour in the vermouth and baste the chicken joints. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, then add the olives, making sure they get mixed in with the vegetables. Put the tin back in the oven for another 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with no pink meat and the juices run clear. The vermouth should reduce while it’s in the oven, leaving the chicken and vegetables with thick juices around them. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in July 2021.