25 June 2013

Chicken, Fennel & Orange Casserole

The cold snap has hit, along with the worst storms in decades. Hail, torrential rain, floods, landslides, snow, the loudest thunder I have ever heard & power cuts have battered most of the country this past week.  Yes mother nature & the old weather have made quite a week of it in New Zealand. We have actually got off quite lightly here in Auckland, so I am thankful for that & happy to be rugged up inside on a Sunday afternoon with power to power the heat pump!

Remarkably my hibiscus has survived unscathed & still has flowers!

I had a few friends over for a weekend dinner & bright & fresh was on the menu with this chicken, fennel & orange casserole to warm us all up.  I am a fennel fan, raw in salads, roasted, sauteed any which way I like it.  It’s aniseed notes are good friends with orange & tomato & is this little trio that makes this a fresh & zesty casserole.

Chicken, Fennel & Orange Casserole, adapted from Bill Granger


2 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs, cut in to 3
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed & thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced 
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Pinch chilli flakes
Pinch saffron threads, soaked in a little warm water
3 strips of orange rind 
Juice of 1 orange
1 can chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken stock
Salt & pepper


Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken & fry for a few minutes on each side until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Add the onion & fennel to the pan, season with a little salt & reduce the heat to medium. Cook for a few minutes until they are softened & then add the garlic & smoked paprika.  Fry for a couple of minutes more & then add the fennel seeds, chilli flakes, saffron, orange rind & juice, tomatoes & stock.  Add the chicken & season with a good pinch of salt & pepper.  Let the casserole simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Taste &  season if need be.

Serve along side a pile of mashed potato to brighten & comfort your day.  It is bright & fresh, the zesty orange against the backdrop of the wonderfully smoky paprika & just a little welcome heat from those chilli flakes.

If you like this you might like these Braised Lamb Shanks



  1. We are sitting between heavy monsoon rains this year. I know what you mean the thunder and weather conditions have been kind of extreme. I am in the modd for something warm and your casserole is so very inviting. Can I come over? ;)

    1. Thanks Helene..& you'd be welcome over any time!

  2. Beautiful, Mairi! This is perfect for a stormy evening. We are in the midst of a heat wave (so happy summer arrived on time in Seattle!) so I'll be saving this casserole for when the chilly rain returns. Stay warm!

    1. Oh Summer....well Spring is only a month or 2 away :) And thank fully some sunny, if just a little chilly have returned! Enjoy your Summer Hannah!


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