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  • Chicken Thighs Braised in Fennel Caramel

    Chicken Thighs Braised in Fennel Caramel with Winter Vegetables

    At Recette, we like to play with our food a little (well, a lot) and really challenge the customer’s palate and expectations. For this recipe, we take a preparation most home cooks are familiar with—braising—and push it over the edge a bit with a caramel infused with fennel. We’re a little obsessed with using fresh raw juices in our cooking! Here, fennel adds a sweet anise dimension to not only the braise, but to the finished sauce. It’s a simple way of making chicken thighs incredibly delicious.

    Servings & Time

    • Servings 4
    • Prep 1 hour
    • Cook 1 hour


    For the Roasted Vegetables
    • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice
    • 6 pearl onions, peeled
    • 4 to 8 red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch dice
    • ½ bunch bunch fresh thyme, left on stem
    • 2 sprigs sprigs fresh rosemary, left on stem
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
    For the Caramel
    • 2 fennel bulbs (about 1 pound), fronds removed but otherwise untrimmed
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    For the Chicken
    • Olive oil
    • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    • Salt
    For the Sauce
    • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, cubed
    • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 6 to 8 chives, minced


    For the Roasted Vegetables

    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    Place the vegetables on a baking sheet with the thyme and rosemary. Coat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

    Set the roasted vegetables aside and reduce the oven temp to 325°F.

    For the Caramel

    Juice the fennel bulbs in an electric juicer; you should have about 1 cup fennel juice. Heat a Dutch oven over high heat until very hot. Add the sugar to the pan in an even layer.

    Let the sugar caramelize until it reaches a medium amber color. As the edges brown, gently shake or shift the pan to redistribute the sugar.

    Reduce the heat to medium and add ¾ cup of the fennel juice. Be sure to stand away from the caramel as the sugar will pop and can easily burn you. Stir, and if not all of the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and stir to help melt the sugar. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

    For the Chicken

    If using the same pan to cook the chicken, wipe it out. Add the olive oil and heat over high heat. Season the chicken, place skin-side down in the hot pan, and cook until golden brown. Work in batches if necessary, pouring off all but 1 tablespoon fat between batches.

    After all the thighs have been cooked, return the chicken to the pan and add the fennel caramel to cover. If there is not enough fennel caramel, add remaining fennel juice, stock, or water. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is tender, cooked through, and pulls easily off the bone.

    For the Sauce

    Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and keep warm. Strain the braising liquid into a medium saucepan. Reduce over high heat until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the cold, cubed butter, a little at a time, whisking continuously to make an emulsified sauce.

    Whisk in the sherry vinegar and add the fresh parsley and chives.

    To Serve

    Arrange the chicken on a large platter and surround with the roasted vegetables. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

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