Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives, Lemon and Fennel

My amazing husband bought me Thomas Keller's cook book, Ad Hoc at Home. I am in love with it because all the recipes are rustic, (which I have learned that is what my cook style leans towards) and pretty easy to navigate through. I am excited to work my way through this cookbook and share some tips and recipes with you all along my way! 

What you need:
3 large fennel bulbs
12 chicken thighs
kosher salt
canola oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
¼ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc (I used Robert Mondovi and then served the rest with the meal)
1 cup large green olives
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 fresh or 2 dried Bay leaves
4 strips lemon zest – removed with vegetable peeler
8 thyme sprigs
1 cup Chicken Stock
about ¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves (I didn't have so I used dried parsley)


Cut off the fennel stalks. Trim the bottom of the bulbs and peel back the layers until you reach the core; reserve the core for another use. Discard any bruised layers, and cut the fennel into 2-by-½-inch batons. You need 3 cups fennel for this recipe; reserve any remaining fennel for another use.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt. Heat some canola oil in a large ovenproof saut√© pan or roasting pan that will hold all the thighs in one layer over medium-high heat. Its really important to make sure your oil is hot and sizzling when you add your chicken. Add the thighs skin-side-down and brown on the skin side, about 4 minutes. 

Turn the thighs over and cook for about 1 minute to sear meat. Transfer to cooling rack.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion to the pan and cook for 1½ minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in the fennel, turn the heat up to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the fennel is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the wine and simmer for about 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the olives, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, lemon zest and thyme, then pour in the chicken stock. Increase the heat, bring the liquid to a simmer, and cook until the fennel is tender, about 1 minute.

Taste the stock and season with salt, as needed. I didn't add more salt at this point because I felt it was salty enough, but I did add a little ground pepper. Return the chicken to the pan skin-side-up, in a single layer. When the liquid returns to a simmer, transfer to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Turn on the broiler, and put the pan under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp and brown the chicken skin. Remove from oven, and transfer to a plate, spoon sauce over each chicken. Garnish with parsley leaves.

This meal was a HUGE hit at my house. The suggestions I got was to add a little bit more fennel to the sauce so each person could have more than a fe slices because it complimented the chicken so well. I served with a side salad and potato pancakes. 
Let me know what you think! 
Bon Appetit! 


  1. Yum! I could always use some more recipes :) Thank you for your kind comment and actually my husband said he was taking me out one weekend and he surprised me by seeing The Vow! I didn't even have to talk him into it!

  2. Yummy!!!! I love that it seems so simple. I can't wait for you to share more of the recipes from this cook book and I already added all of these ingredients to my shopping list for this week. I'll let you know how it turns out!

  3. Sooo tasty!!! I loved it. Cant wait for it to be made again so I can gobble it down!!

  4. YUM! This sounds so good! I think you need a blog lovin' account to make it easier for us to follow you!!! XOXOX.