Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chicken and Fennel Stew

No, I didn't win the Vegetable Gratin Contest, but thank you to all who took the time to vote.  I certainly appreciate your support.

The other night I took a couple of pounds of boneless chicken thighs and a couple of bulbs of fresh fennel and made this comforting winter stew.  The garlicky sauce, called rouille, is adapted from a Jacques Pepin technique adding potatoes to the sauce.

Makes about 6 servings

For the stew:
3 Tbl olive oil
1 large leek (white and light green only) sliced lengthwise and the crosswise into 1/4 inch half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed a bit
2 bulbs fresh fennel (save a few fronds for garnish) sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat and then cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1  14-15 ounce can of plum tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2  1/2 cups chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the leek and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes to soften the leek.  Add the crushed fennel seed and chicken pieces and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes.
Add the fennel slices and give everything a stir.  Crushing the tomatoes with your clean hands, add them to the pot along with the wine.
Bring the pot up to a boil and then add the chicken broth.  Simmer all for about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes become fork tender.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

For the rouille:
2 pieces of the cooked potato from the stew
3 to 4 Tbl of the stew's broth
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup mayo

Place the potatoes, broth and garlic into the bowl of a mini food processor and process until very smooth, remove to a bowl and stir in the mayo and cayenne.

To serve the stew: Ladle the stew into serving bowls, place a couple of spoonfuls of the rouille over and garnish with a few of those saved fennel fronds.

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