This is a slightly different version of a Nigella recipe (from Simply Nigella) which I used when I was on the look out for fennel recipes this summer. Fennel is really expensive in the supermarket – about £3.50 per bulb – but at Surrey Street market in Croydon I could buy three bulbs for £2. Bargain! The use of chicken thighs makes this is a cheap but quite stylish dish which is packed with flavour.
- 12 chicken thighs, skin on.
- 2 large fennel bulbs.
- Zest and juice of 3 eating oranges.
- Juice of 1 lemon.
- 4 teaspoons fennel seeds.
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
- 50 ml extra virgin oil.
- Sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Remove the fronds from the fennel and put to one side to use for garnish later. Discard the tube parts of the fennel as they can be too chewey and stringy when cooked. Cut the fennel lengthways into eighths and lay in a baking dish.
- Score the chicken skin and place the chicken thighs on the fennel base.
- Mix the orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and oil in a jug and pour over the chicken and fennel. Mix thoroughly, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinate over night (or as long as possible).
- Take the chicken and fennel out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come up to room temperature. Ensure the chicken thighs are skin side up in the dish. Heat the oven to 180C and bake for about 1 hour. Check the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- Put the chicken and fennel on a warmed serving plate to rest while you reduce the juices by boiling them for about 3/4 minutes until syrupy. Pour over the chicken and fennel and scatter with the reserved fennel fronds.