Roast chicken & blood orange with fennel & olives recipe image

Print Roast chicken & blood orange with fennel & olives

Orange, fennel and olive is a classic combination; raw sliced fennel combined in a salad with orange makes a good, punchy accompaniment to fish or chicken. Here we’ve roasted the fennel for a mellower flavour.

Ingredients

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • Oil for frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 2 chicken legs
  • 100g bulgur wheat
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 60g pitted black olives – please check for stray stones
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 75ml white wine
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put a large pan of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 210˚C/Gas Mark 6. Wash the fennel. Chop off the stalk tops and, if there are any, keep the bright green feathery fronds on the very top of the stalks; you can use them to garnish the chicken later.
  2. Chop the fennel lengthways into 6-8 wedges, depending on size, keeping a little of the root intact in each wedge to hold it together. Once the water is boiling, add the fennel wedges and cook for 5 minutes. While the fennel cooks, season the chicken legs with a little salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (if you have a wide flame- and ovenproof casserole dish, use that).
  3. Fry the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain the fennel into a colander, reserving the cooking water. Put the bulgur wheat in the bottom of a large baking dish (or casserole, if using). Slice a thin disc of peel off the top
  4. and bottom of each orange to just reveal the segments, then run a sharp knife around to cut off the rest of the peel.
  5. Chop the oranges into quarters. Tuck the drained fennel, orange wedges and olives in amongst the bulgur wheat. Sprinkle over the ground fennel and dried tarragon. Pour in the wine and 300ml of the reserved fennel cooking water. Nestle the chicken on top. Drizzle liberally with oil and season.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (no pink juices remain – test by inserting a sharp knife into the thickest part; the juices should run clear). Keep an eye on the bulgur now and then as it cooks to check it’s not drying out too much; add a splash more fennel cooking water
  7. if needed. Serve the chicken sprinkled with chopped fennel fronds, if there were any on the bulb.

Cooks notes

Blood oranges have a short season, much anticipated here on the farm. We love their sweet, sharp flavour and wonderful colour variations. Some are dark red inside, others just tinged with red hues; all brighten up a winter’s day. I always add an extra bag to my order when they come around.
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