Friday, February 3, 2017

Orange and Fennel infused Chicken Traybake

Mediterranean Fennel is a vegetable that I should be using more in my cooking and my salads because it is so healthy and delicious. There are some really nice and reasonably priced small fennel bulbs available at the supermarkets at the moment, even though in the Mediterranean where it originates from since ancient times it is a Winter season vegetable. It is the perfect vegetable to partner with chicken in a traybake as it is very low-calorie, has a sweet anise-like flavour and contains lots of fibre.

 Infuse the chicken and fennel with orange, lemon and mustard and it becomes a delicious dish. Traybakes are such a practical way to cook for your family or to entertain with, however with this one, the flavours should be allowed to marinate for around 24 hours, so a little bit of forward planning is required. However, I have been known to only marinate it for half a day and it was still very enjoyable.

I just serve this with any other vegetables I have on hand. Mashed potato with another green vegetable such as broccoli would be nice.

 Orange and Fennel infused Chicken Traybake

Serves 6


12 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in
4 small Fennel bulbs, or 2 large ones if that is all you can find  (approx 1 kg. total, though less wouldn’t matter)
100ml (5 tblsp.) canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 x 15ml tablespoon or so for drizzling on the chicken when cooking
 Zest of 2 oranges and the juice of one, and juice of 1 lemon (about 100ml altogether)
2 teaspoons of herb flavoured salt flakes
4 teaspoons fennel seeds

Let’s cook 

Cut the feathery fronds from the fennel and put them in a resealable bag in the fridge as a garnish for later. Cut the bulbs of fennel into quarters and then cut each quarter, lengthways, into 3. Put the fennel to the side as you make the marinade.

Place a large freezer bag, and these are so cheap I recommend you buy a packet of them, inside a wide-necked measuring jug or similar, pour in the oil, add the orange zest and juice (and lemon juice if using, I didn’t) and spoon in the salt, fennel seeds and mustard. Stir briefly to mix.

Remove the bag from the jug and, while holding it up add a quarter of the chicken pieces, then a quarter of the fennel pieces, and so on until everything’s been used up.

Seal the bag tightly at the top, lay the bag in a lasagne style dish and squelch it about so that you cover as much of the chicken as possible with the marinade. This will be enough marinade. Leave in the fridge overnight or up to 1 day. During the day you can squish it about in the bag every few hours if you are at home.

Have a shallow roasting tin measuring around 46 x 34 cm ready. Not essential but the chicken will brown up better this way.

Remove the marinating chicken and fennel from the fridge and tip the contents of the bag – marinade and all – into the roasting pan. Using tongs, arrange the chicken pieces so that they are sitting, skin-side up on top of the fennel. Leave it for 30 minutes or so, to come up to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 200 ℃.

Drizzle some more oil onto the chicken, and cook in the oven for 1 hour. The chicken will then be cooked through and bronzed on top, and the luscious fennel will be soft.

Put the chicken and fennel onto a warmed serving plate and put the pan and juices  over a medium heat and boil the juices, stirring as you watch it turn syrupy, which should take about 1 ½ - 2 minutes in the tin. (Use a saucepan if your pan isn’t stove friendly.)

Pour the reduced sauce over the  chicken and fennel, and then tear over the reserved fennel fronds for presentation.

Covered leftovers, will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The idea for this recipe originally came from Nigella Lawson, who has produced some amazing traybake recipes.

Bon appetit!

Thanks for dropping by.

Warm wishes


1 comment:

  1. Pauline this looks wonderful! This would be great for a party or a bbq too LD


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