20 June 2007

Moroccan chicken with fennel

This is another tajine idea. In French it's called Tajine de poulet au fenouil. The ingredients are two big bulbs of fennel, four chicken thighs, four chicken legs, one whole lemon, a couple of garlic cloves, and some Moroccan spices or curry powder. Add some potatoes if you want, or serve the chicken and fennel with rice or couscous. It's an easy recipe.

Ingredients for Moroccan chicken with fennel

If you have full leg sections of chicken as I did, cut the thighs and legs apart to make them easier to cook. I used four leg sections, but you could easily use six. Salt and pepper the chicken before cooking it.

Chicken legs and thighs, salted and peppered

Wash the fennel bulbs, discard the blemished outer layers, and cut the bulbs into quarters. Cut the lemon into four or five slices and remove the pits.

Fennel and lemon ready for cooking

Sauté the chicken pieces in a little olive or other vegetable oil. When they are starting to brown, add a good pinch of fennel seeds if you have some, a good pinch of hot paprika, and three tablespoons of curry powder (or your own mix of spices like cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne pepper, and others).

Chicken pieces browning with spices

Stir the chicken around with the spices and then add the fennel pieces and lemon slices to the pot. Throw in a couple of bay leaves and a couple of whole garlic cloves in their husk. Add not quite enough water to cover the ingredients — you can always add more water later if you think it needs it.

Chicken, fennel, lemon, and spices in the pot with some water

I decided to add some little red potatoes to the tajine because I had some in the cellar downstairs. Steamed potatoes are good with a curried sauce.

Add potatoes to the pot, or leave them out and eat
the chicken and fennel with steamed rice or couscous.

Cover the pot and let the chicken, fennel, and potatoes simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes or longer. Test the fennel and potatoes for doneness by poking them with a skewer or knife. If the chicken falls apart a little, that's okay.

Moroccan chicken with fennel ready for the table

For mine, the chicken was falling off the bone and the fennel was tender. The potatoes were completely cooked. I thought there was too much sauce, so I poured it off into another pot and boiled it down until it reduced and thickened a little. Then I poured it back over the dish, which I had kept warm in the oven. Taste it for salt, of course.

I thought the cooked lemon slices were good to eat, skin and all. Walt thought they were a little bitter.

Another ingredient you can add toward the end of the cooking is a dozen or so big green olives. Give the olives about 15 minutes to poach in the sauce before you eat them. They will add saltiness, so be careful with the salt shaker if you add olives.


  1. Dear Mr Broadhurst (I feel as though I should call you Ken as if I know you!)

    I am not sure how I happened upon your blog a few months back, but I happily click it as a favorite every day. I am a working wife and mom in Rochester NY, enjoying a little daily slice of life in France, an update on Callie and of course some wonderful recipes and I just wanted to say thank you! I look forward to my work break, and while enjoying a cup of tea I feel as though I visit with friends while viewing your lovely photos as well. So here I am waving hello from my office in NY at 10:20 am, wish I was there to enjoy the chicken with fennel with you, it looks like a wonderful lunch. I enjoy the recipes (I just bought some artichokes, have never made them before but I gained courage from your post!). Again, many thanks! Kathleen

  2. I am trying this recipe this weekend! Looks lovely.

  3. Ken, what amazing timing! We got a big head of fennel in our CSA basket yesterday, and Mitch and I were trying to decide what to do with it. Now we have a great idea. Thanks!

  4. Hi Kathleen, you can certainly call me Ken. Hello to you in Rochester, a city I've never visited except one night in a motel on the outskirts when I was on my way from Québec to Champaign, Illinois. I hope you enjoy the artichokes.

    Jayne and Ginny, hope you like the chicken with fennel. We liked it a lot. Fennel, sliced and sauteed in olive oil, is good with fish too. Anise and fish go well together.

  5. We are big fans of fennel. My husband and I took a italian cooking course and one of the dishes was just good old plain fennel with parmesan. Yum! Hubby makes a delicious pork loin roast stuffed breadcrumb, fennel, onion stuffing. Devine!

  6. I love the first comment on this post!

    The tajine looks great. They ARE easy. We have been to busy to do much cooking lately though. I hope to catch up in the USA this summer! I usually don't even know who in the family will be eating at home, much less what.

  7. I love fennel, that's a dish for me. Looks yummy!

  8. It turned out perfectly! And it was delicious. See my blog for pics... http://www.jaynebingler.com/blog/?p=583

    I decided to put the chicken on a bed of couscous because we already eat too many damn potatos here in Holland. When making this again, I would brown the chicken in my frying pan and then transfer to the stock pot. I also added too much water and I needed to add a tad of cornstarch to thicken the sauce that little bit. But the taste was perfect. And the colour, divine. THANKS!


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