I love recipes like this. Comforting recipes that you can start in the late afternoon and that will bubble away on your stove, fragrancing and warming your house until dinner time.
This particular chicken stew is inspired by the flavours of Southeastern France. Generally associated with summer, tomatoes, fennel and herbes de Provence make a wonderful rustic stew you can enjoy in the colder, rainier months.
Provencal Chicken Stew(serves 4-6)
Use a mortar and pestle to crush the fennel seeds. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and sprinkle the chicken with the fennel, herbs de provence and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Cut the fennel in quarters and remove the core. Dice.
Push chicken to the sides of the pan to make a hole in the middle and add the onion and fennel. Stir regularly until the onion softens slightly. Add wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any bits left on the bottom of the pan. Scrub potatoes and chop into large bite sized pieces. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer again and simmer for 45 minutes. If any scum rises to the surface skim and discard.
Remove the thighs from the stew, shred the meat using a pair of forks and returning meat back to the pot. Taste and correct for seasoning. Either serve hot now, or refrigerate for later. Skim fat off before reheating.