Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe with Fennel, Olives and Lemon

by katerina on December 4, 2009

After reading several rave reviews of Thomas Keller’s new book Ad Hoc at Home, I was trying to resists until Christmas but when I saw it for sale at Costco, I snatched it up.

I took Ad Hoc home, curled up on the couch and flipped through it. It certainly is a satisfying read, and one where I feel like I am learning but that the food is still simple enough to be approachable. You see Keller is famous for his work on The French Laundry and Bouchon, which don’t fall into my rustic, simple, home cooking philosophy.  But Ad Hoc does.

I had a few friends coming over for dinner so I decided to try this braised chicken recipe on them. I loved the sound of the extra crispy skin, and it seemed like something which you could make partially ahead. The chicken was certainly delicious, perfectly crispy but still moist and tender.  The sauce with the fennel and olives was light and flavourful.  But what I liked most was the technique I learned while cooking this dish.   I think there will be variations of braised but crispy chicken in my future, and yours.

Oh, and the recipe for Pork Belly?  We have a date.

Print Recipe

Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs Recipe with Fennel, Olives and Lemon

(Serves 3-6)
Adapted from AdHoc At Home

2 small fennel bulbs
6 chicken thighs, bone-in & skin on
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 green olives such as Cerignola
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
the zest of one lemon
1 bay leaf
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
a handful fresh parsley leafs

Preheat oven to 375F.  Set a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet.  Cut off the fennel stalks and discard the fronds.  Trim off the bottom and cut the fennel in quarters. Core the fennel.  Remove the layers of the fennel and chop into 1/2" thin slices.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt.  Heat a large oven-proof skillet to medium high heat and add canola oil.  Add thighs skin side down and cook until lightly browned, about 5-10 minutes.  Flip chicken and cook for another minute.  Remove chicken from the pan and place on prepared cooling rack.

Reduce heat to medium low and pour off excess oil, you only need a teaspoon.  Add onion and saute for 1 minute.  Add garlic and continue sweating, stirring regularly until onion is translucent, about 5 more minutes.  Add fennel to the pan and turn heat back up to medium.  Stirring frequently cook until fennel is tender but still has a bite. About 10-15 minutes.

Add olive, red pepper flakes, bay leaf and zest and cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and simmer for two minutes to reduce. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  Nestle chicken back into the pan so it is sitting on top of fennel skin side up, and just 1/4 submerged.

Put pan in oven and back until chicken is cooked through 20-25 minutes.  Give the chicken a baste with the juices, turn on the broiler, and while watching broil for an extra minute or two to get the skin extra crispy and browned. Remove thyme sprigs, stir in parsley and serve.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 50 minutes | Total Time:60 minutes
Calories(approximate per serving): 400

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