Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel & Lemon

Recipe: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel & Lemon

Faith Durand
Feb 22, 2011

I love one-dish meals, especially ones that involve fennel and lemon. The aromatic anise flavor of fennel, and its juicy bite, caramelized around the edges by the heat of the oven — ah, it's delicious. So you can see how this quick, one-pan dish is really my favorite meal of the past month.

My love of chicken thighs is well-documented. They're not terribly dark, so even those in your household who prefer white meat shouldn't turn their noses up at thighs the way they might at drumsticks. And chicken thighs are unfailingly moist and forgiving. You can overcook them just a bit and they'll still be melting and juicy. They also are cheap. So really, what can go wrong?

Here I roast chicken thighs in a light bath of lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic, with thick wedges of fennel bulb thrown into the mix. They all roast together at high heat, crisping up around the edges and becoming infused with the flavor of garlic and lemon.

And it's so quick and easy; just cut up the fennel, toss it with the chicken and the other ingredients, roast and serve. Done!

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel & Lemon
serves 4

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 small fennel bulbs, between 1 and 1 1/4 pounds total
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
1 Meyer lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl.

Trim the stalks and fronds off the fennel bulbs, and cut each bulb in quarters. Then slice each quarter into 1-inch-thick slices. Add to the bowl with the chicken. Mince about 1 tablespoon of fennel fronds and also add to the bowl.

Add the minced garlic, olive oil, and white wine to the bowl. Zest and juice the lemon, and add both to the bowl. Toss all the ingredients together, and add the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Spread the chicken and fennel on a large baking sheet, arranging the fennel around the outside and placing the chicken pieces closely together in the center. Pour any remaining juices in the bowl over the chicken.

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of about 160°F, and the fennel is tender and beginning to brown around the edges. Take the pan out of the oven, and cover with foil. Let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with rice or bread.

Related: In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite: Melissa Clark's Chicken Thighs with Green Tomatoes, Basil, and Ginger

(Images: Faith Durand)

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