Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken with Olives and Fennel

There was a recipe for chicken with olives in the most recent issue of Jamie Magazine, but when I examined it I thought it seemed sort of boring. I was inspired by the concept and decided to make up my own dish instead. This is sort of like a fricassee, but with a bit of a Southern Italian/Northern African spin on it.

1 onion, sliced
2 bulbs fennel, quartered (keep the fronds aside, chopped)
Parsley, chopped
6 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
4 chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 C green olives, cracked and pits removed
1/2 C Preserved lemon peel*, rinsed and diced
2 C chicken broth
4 Tbs flour
Olive oil
1/2 C white wine

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a heavy, oven-proof pot or dutch oven, lightly saute the onions with the bay leaves, thyme, and olive oil. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the same pot, brown the chicken, and set aside. Add the white wine to the pot to deglaze it. When most of the wine has evaporated, add the flour and stir until all the oil and drippings are absorbed (you can add a little extra oil if there isn't much left). Gradually add broth to form a thin gravy. Add the chicken, onions and herbs, along with the fennel, olives, and preserved lemons. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with the fennel fronds and parsley.

*If you don't have preserved lemons, you can just use thinly sliced fresh lemons. Don't dice them- keep them in slices so they are easy to avoid when it's time to eat, as they will be very bitter.

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