Chicken with garlic and fennel

Chicken with garlic and fennel

My Favourite Ingredients
Jason Lowe

This is the sort of food I cook at home – quick, simple and satisfying. During the summer, I’ll most likely serve it with a plate of green beans and new potatoes from the garden, drizzled with peppery extra virgin olive oil.


Quantity Ingredient
1 organic free-range chicken, about 1.4kg, jointed into 8 pieces
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 dried red chilli
1 teaspoon saffron threads
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and fibrous outer layer removed
250ml white wine
2 x 340g jars (or tinned) good-quality peeled plum tomatoes
1 orange, pared zest
3 bay leaves
5 thyme sprigs
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, (optional)


  1. Season the chicken well all over with salt and pepper. Put the olive oil into a flameproof casserole (large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably) and place over a medium heat. When hot, brown the chicken pieces in batches, turning to colour them all over – they should look really golden and pleasing to the eye. Once browned, remove the pieces and set aside. Pour off any excess fat from the casserole, leaving around 1 tbsp or so.
  2. In a separate pan, gently warm the fennel and coriander seeds until they release their fragrance, then tip into a mortar and pound with the pestle to grind finely.
  3. Add the onions to the casserole and cook over a low heat until sweet and translucent, about 5 minutes. Crumble over the chilli and add the ground spices, saffron and garlic. Season with a good pinch of salt and a little pepper, and stir well to combine. Cut the fennel bulb into quarters and add to the pan.
  4. Pour in the wine, turn up the heat a little and let bubble and reduce for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes. Return the chicken to the pan and add the orange zest and herbs. Turn the heat down and put the lid on the casserole. Cook very gently for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and almost starting to fall from the bone.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you’re like me, you’ll want to add a splash of extra virgin olive oil to bring the whole dish together. Serve with bread – or something else to mop up the delicious juices.
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