Needed: one pot of comfort food - STAT! It’s a yummy-time emergency. That’s right, I said it: yummy-time. Don’t laugh at me, this is serious. It was that kind of a month.
So I was at Whole Foods not too long ago and picked up a Best of Fine Cooking magazine - the One-Pot Meals edition. I’ve been wanting to make chicken in the Le Creuset, and the braised chicken on the cover looked like a big plate of mmm so I gave it a go. I omitted a couple of ingredients for the sake of budget and convenience, but it still turned out perfect and cozy.
This recipe uses fennel. I’ve cooked with fennel seeds before, but never a fennel bulb. And man, does it smell good. It’s licoricey and warm, smooth spice with no bite. This is a mild dish, so the fennel adds just enough depth to make it interesting without overpowering the earthy flavors.
Interesting thing about the Le Creuset - everything I’ve made in it has the same earthy flavor. I can’t put my finger on what it is - maybe it’s all that fat that has no place to go but back into the sauce. In any case, meats taste meatier. Chicken tastes…more chickeny. It’s not gamey, just…rich. And this dish is no exception.
You will need:
- 1 1/2 lb chicken legs, skin-on
- 1 1/2 lb chicken thighs, skin-on
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 large shallots, quartered
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbs chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, for 5-7 minutes. Allow the chicken to turn a nice brown. Flip the chicken over and sear the other side for 5 more minutes. Remove and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tbs of oil in the dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the shallots, carrots and fennel. Allow the vegetables to soften and brown, about 7 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes.
Tie the parsley and thyme together and add to the pot. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. The brown bits at the bottom of the pan should begin to loosen and incorporate into the sauce.
Add the broth and the chicken, arranging the meat in a single layer. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover and place in oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the chicken is fork-tender.
Once done, remove the chicken and vegetables using a slotted spoon. Set aside and cover with foil. Toss out the herb bundle. Return the dutch oven to the stove and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the sauce down to 2 cups, about 20 minutes or so. (If you want a thicker sauce, you could add 1 tsp of cornstarch mixed with water.) Once reduced, stir in the lemon zest. Then add the chicken and vegetables back into the mix and top with chopped parsley.
I served this with ready-made polenta from Trader Joe’s. I simply sliced the polenta, drizzled with olive oil and baked it up. This dish is so easy. And cozy. And comforting. And rather delicious.