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
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Two years ago Pineapple & Toasted Coconut Muffins