Another special dinner idea – this Lemon Fennel Chicken is packed with incredible flavours. The fennel wedges give this recipe a star anise taste that perfectly combines with garlic and fresh lemon juice. This pan-seared, oven baked chicken has a beautiful golden-brown crust and juicy and tender bites. The added cherry tomatoes bring a bright and sweet flavour that balances the whole dish.
All about Fennel
I think fennel is such an interesting vegetable – the texture is both crunchy and soft, the taste reminds me of star anise (which I love) and liquorice. If you’re eating it raw, the flavour will be quite strong, but if you’re cooking it, the fennel will soften and have a more sweet and delicate taste. Also, the lemon and fennel combo makes this main dish feel like a special, out of the ordinary dinner.
How to cut Fennel
You’ll need 2-3 fennel bulbs, cut in wedges. The layers will separate a little bit, but that’s ok.
- First, reserve the fronds – you will garnish with these, they have a more citrusy flavour.
- Then, cut off the stalks (they’re so tough and woody!) – you could use them in preparing vegetable stock.
- Next, trim a little bit of the bottom hard part – don’t cut the entire bottom part, this will held together the layers.
- Half the fennel bulb, then each half into 4 wedges.
How to cook Lemon Fennel
- Coat a large oven-safe skillet with olive oil.
- Place fennel wedges in the skillet, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden-brown and caramelised.
- Add lemon juice, chicken or vegetable stock, stir and cover the skillet with a lid. Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the tough part of the fennel can be easily pierced with a fork.
- That’s it! You’ve got yourself a super delicious lemon fennel.
Pan-seared oven baked chicken
This method of preparing chicken is one of my favourites – you’ll get both a beautiful golden-brown, full of flavour crust and an overall tender and juicy piece of chicken. You could totally pan-sear the chicken all the way through, but I usually find it on the dry side.
- In the same skillet you cooked the fennel heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the chicken breasts and sear for 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden-brown.
- Transfer the skillet to a preheated oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
When all the ingredients are done, bring them all together in the skillet and cook them for another 2 minutes. Then garnish this lemon fennel chicken with the reserved fennel fronds. You’ll have a really nice and special dinner for two, ready in under 45 minutes (with some downtime).
Lemon Fennel Chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 2 fennel bulbs cut in wedges
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes whole or halved
- 1 tbsp fennel fronds for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large oven-safe skillet add 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add fennel, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sautée until golden-brown and caramelised on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and pour the chicken or vegetable stock in the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook the fennel for 3-4 minutes or until tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove fennel and juices from skillet and set aside.
- Wipe the skillet with a paper towel. Heat remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, season chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until golden-brown, about 5-7 minutes on each side. Transfer skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- When the chicken is done, add tomatoes, garlic, fennel and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Serve with fennel fronds, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.