Thursday, 28 April 2022

Paprika Chicken Traybake with Fennel and Chickpeas (or Cannellini Beans), perfect for a mid-week dinner

Fennel, cream, paprika, garlic and oregano are the basis of a delicious sauce for this traybake. The delicate aniseed notes of fennel, subtly shine through this dish when cooked. When I was buying chicken pieces with no particular menu plan in mind, I took what I could buy, as chicken was still in short supply at the supermarket because of the Queensland floods and short staffing everywhere due to Covid. So I came home with three chicken legs and a chicken Maryland, which is plenty of chicken for a meal for the two of us and for leftovers the following day. When I saw this recipe a little later, it reminded me of the forgotten Chicken Maryland in the freezer, and also looked like a very tasty and easy mid-week traybake which was what I needed. The creamy fennel sauce is light but full of flavour and overall I was pretty thrilled with this meal.

Anytime is a good time to cook a traybake in my opinion, and especially when entertaining it's such an easy option, without any compromise at all on flavour. After all are there any cooks who don't appreciate being able to pop an easily assembled tray bake in the oven after a busy day? I substituted 200 g of cannellini beans which were leftover in the refrigerator instead of chick peas and they were a very tasty combination. I often have small amounts of chickpeas, lentils, barley and beans left over from other dishes, and they are often interchangeable when cooking. There is also plenty of the sauce for leftovers. Mr. HRK who is generally very hungry by dinnertime thought that being given a whole Chicken Maryland was a bit too much for him which surprised me, so when I bake this one again I'll use chicken thighs or breasts instead. However your hungry guests might appreciate a Chicken Maryland to eat.


Serves 4

4 chicken thighs, skin on and bone in, or chicken breasts, or chicken legs, or a combination ( I allow 2 pieces of chicken per person) 

 1 medium fennel bulb, (abut 380 g) chopped and trimmed

2 garlic cloves, crushed

400 g can chickpeas (garbanzos) or white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock

1 cup (250 ml) pouring cream

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup oregano leaves

Store bought Dukkah to serve


Preheat oven to 250 deg. C (485 deg. F)

Place the chopped chickpeas or cannellini beans, fennel, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a deep-sided roasting pan. 

Add the stock and cream and mix to combine.

With a pastry brush, coat the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Position the chicken on top of the fennel mixture. 

Cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is golden and cooked through.

To serve, sprinkle with fresh oregano and dukkah. This Native saltbush dukkah was a gift from our good friends,and was very tasty sprinkled over the chicken.

This recipe is originally from the very clever Australian cook, #Donna Hay, however I have changed a few things as we do.

We have  a vegetable garden growing well throughout Winter most years, and those of you reading this who live in the Northern Hemisphere will quietly chuckle when you realise that when you are busily starting to plant in your Spring after a very cold Winter, we are planting over here in Autumn. Summer is too hot here to grow most vegetables. This dish has reminded me to plant some fennel and dill in my garden for this Winter, as whilst I have managed to grow fennel before, it's not a vegetable crop that the tropics or sub-tropics is known for. Once the humidity of Spring and Summer starts, the fennel and dill crops develop a white powdered mildew, which is always very disappointing. However fennel thrives in the Mediterranean.

Warm wishes,



  1. This sounds and looks lovely with anise note from the fennel seeds and the chicken thighs look so tender and juicy. Totally right up my alley.

    1. Thanks Angie, I was really happy with this recipe

  2. Thank you for once again posting such a delicious recipe. So appreciate the time and effort you devote to your blog and even though I am in my mid-eighties you never fail to inspire me and give me new ideas to try.
    Many thanks

    1. So great to hear from you, I'm so happy you are enjoying my blog so much. Take care.

  3. I don't use fennel that much, but it's not for a specific reason. I just don't think about it. This fennel sauce looks so creamy and delicious, though! And everyone appreciates an easy mid-week meal like this one. Well done! Also, interesting note about how we're both planting at the same time. I do love to garden!

    1. Thanks so much David, I love cooking with fennel, and when I see it I buy it, adds flavour and crunch to so many dishes.

  4. Beautiful dish, Pauline! And, though it is near summer here, I’d be willing to heat up the kitchen for this!

    1. David, I know what you mean, I just cook later in summer, this dish is quite light to eat though. Thanks so much

  5. i don't know why but we just never eat fennel! I don't mind it at all but i just never think to cook with it. LOve a traybake! FUnny how hard it is to get chicken marylands. they never have them when i'm looking. yes i think the planting thing is funny too. and how May weather in Qld is about the same as English summers...


    1. I think fennel is still quite a new vegetable for us as well, it certainly wasn't on our table when I was growing up. So beautiful with Mediterranean style foods. Thanks for your comment Sherry.

  6. not sure my comment went thru. just saying i love a traybake and how i don't cook with fennel. no good reason why not! :-)

  7. It did go through Sherry, must have been just a bit slow.


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