Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fennel-and-Onion Chicken

I'd never tried fennel before, but I'd heard it was delicious.  The sauteed fennel was good, but I think the fennel flavor was a tad strong on this one.  Next time, I'll tone down the fennel and use mushrooms as well.  Why?  Because I love mushrooms on everything!  I also think it will add a nice balance to the strong flavor of the onions and fennel.  Next time, I'd also use all chicken breasts instead of breasts and thighs.  Make sure you really let the chicken caramelize in the bottom of the pan so you have nice bits of browned chicken that will remain in the pan while you saute the onions and fennel (and mushrooms!). 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 pieces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved crosswise
4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken thigh
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons flour, plus more for coating
1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced, plus a small handful of fennel fronds, chopped
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 to 1 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons pine nuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped 

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, the poultry seasoning and fennel seeds. Coat the chicken lightly with flour. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden, 8 minutes; transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, the fennel, fennel fronds, onion and garlic to the pan; season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken on top, cover and cook through for about 5 minutes.

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter to melt, then add the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the 2 tablespoons flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Top with the parsley.

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